A cyber-scam ringleader wanted by China reportedly took his own life while being arrested in Laukkai, Kokang region, near the Chinese border on Thursday, while his son and granddaughter were arrested.
Myanmar’s junta announced on Thursday night that Ming Xuechang “shot himself while he was being arrested and died later while getting treatment.”
Hours before the announcement, the regime stated that Ming Xuechang, his son Ming Xiaoping (aka Ming Guoping), and his granddaughter Ming Zhen Zhen had been arrested in Laukkai and would be handed over to Chinese authorities.
China issued arrest warrants for the trio and Ming Julan, Ming Xuechang’s daughter, on Nov. 12, accusing them of involvement in online scams in Kokang.
Northern Shan State’s Kokang, which adjoins China in the northeastern tip of Myanmar, is notorious for hosting Chinese-run telecom scams run by trafficked workers. The border area is governed by the junta-backed Kokang Administrative Committee.
The scams anger Beijing, a major ally of the junta, and China has repeatedly told the military to crack down on the industry, which analysts say is worth billions of dollars a year.
Ming Xuechang, 69, is a former member of Kokang Self-Administered Zone and used to represent the regime’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in the Shan State parliament.
He is the owner of Crouching Tiger Villa, a telecom scam compound in Kokang, where workers including Chinese nationals were gunned down by guards while trying to flee on Oct. 20. According to some estimates, more than 60 Chinese nationals were killed or wounded in the massacre.
Ming Xuechang is believed to have gone into hiding following the massacre, prompting Chinese authorities to issue the arrest warrants.
The Myanmar regime followed up by issuing an arrest warrant for Ming Xuechang and his family members on Wednesday.
Ming committed suicide on Wednesday night while Myanmar authorities were hunting him down, Chinese state media said, citing China’s Ministry of Public Security.
The ministry said Chinese police investigations found the gang headed by Ming Xuechang had made huge illicit profits from telecom and online fraud targeting Chinese citizens and was suspected of violent crimes including murder and unlawful detention.
The reports said Ming Xiaoping (aka Ming Guoping), Ming Julan, and Ming Zhenzhen were apprehended and handed over to Chinese authorities on Thursday.
However, the junta’s announcement made no mention of the arrest and handover of Ming Xuechang’s daughter, Ming Julan.