Myanmar Ambassador, Who Opposed Coup, Is Target of Assassination Plot


His speech and actions drew the ire of the country’s military leaders, who accused Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun of high treason and tried to replace him as their ambassador. But Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun refused to go, the diplomat chosen by military leaders to replace him quit, and the General Assembly, which accredits diplomats, did not recognize the military’s efforts.

But since July, the plot to force him to step down, and to kill him if he did not oblige, had been brewing, according to court documents. Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun told Reuters earlier this week that he had been made aware of a threat against him and had stepped up his personal security. The ambassador’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The conspiracy began last month when the Thai arms dealer, who federal prosecutors said sells weapons to Myanmar’s military, contacted Mr. Phyo Hein Htut, the court documents say.

According to the documents, Mr. Phyo Hein Htut told F.B.I. investigators that the arms dealer said he had decided to reach out to him on Facebook and through FaceTime after he had seen a photo of Mr. Phyo Hein Htut. The dealer, who is not identified by name, offered to give Mr. Phyo Hein Htut money to hire people to hurt the ambassador and compel him to leave his post, and to kill him if he did not agree, court documents say.

The two also agreed that Mr. Phyo Hein Htut would hire people to tamper with the tires of the ambassador’s car to cause a crash while driving, according to the documents.

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Mr. Phyo Hein Htut later told a volunteer security guard at the country’s U.N. mission about the plan “to hire a hitman” to hurt or kill Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun, according to an interview between investigators and the guard this week outlined in the documents.

Mr. Ye Hein Zaw, who was serving as an intermediary between the two men, sent Mr. Phyo Hein Htut two money transfers of $4,000 over the payment app Zelle in late July, documents say. Prosecutors said Mr. Phyo Hein Htut told investigators that he had agreed to receive the sum up front.