Some 120 high-profile critics, including actors, social media influencers, singers and models, are facing accusations of spreading dissent against the military.
Myanmar military's latest move to stifle dissent against the junta includes issuing arrest warrants for scores of high-profile critics, including actors, social media influencers, singers and models.
Many of the celebrities actively supporting anti-coup protests, where nearly 600 people have died, mostly at the hands of security forces, have already been detained while the hunt for others is under way. Protests have shaken the country since February 1 when the military overthrew the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Authorities have published a list of some 120 celebrities who are facing accusations of spreading dissent against the military, an offence that carries a three-year jail term if convicted.
The junta also issued a warning to people against using the work of the people included in its list.
Here are some of the prominent personalities being targeted:
Paing Takhon, model and actor
The 24-year-old is a star in Myanmar and neighbouring Thailand and has been active in the movement both in person at rallies and through his massive social media following.
He was arrested on Thursday.
"Some 50 soldiers with eight military trucks," came to arrest him from his mother's home in the North Dagon area of Yangon city, his sister Thi Thi Lwin posted on Facebook.
"As he's seriously ill, they arrested him calmly without violence. We do not know where he's taken," she added.
According to recent posts on his social media, where he had more than a million followers on Facebook and Instagram, Takhon has been in poor health.
In February, he posted pictures of himself in a white tracksuit with a megaphone, hard hat and a white fluffy dog strapped to his chest at a protest.
"Help us stop crime against humanity," he posted on Instagram.
His social media pages have been taken down, though it is not clear whether he did this himself.
Paing Takhon is also famous in Thailand and has appeared in TV commercials and shows.
20 More Celebrities Have Been Charged Today with 505 (A).— ElevenMyanmar (@ElevenMyanmar) April 6, 2021
A total of 100 celebrities have been charged over the past five days.
Today well-known celebrities such as Chit Thu Wai, Athen Cho Swe, and Win Min Than were among those charged.
Full List of Those Charged Today: pic.twitter.com/tmp00Wd73d
Paing Phyoe Thu, actor
Actor Paing Phyoe Thu, who attended rallies in the main city of Yangon in the weeks after the coup, said she would not be cowed.
"Whether a warrant has been issued or not, as long as I'm alive I'll oppose the military dictatorship who are bullying and killing people," one of Myanmar's highest-paid stars said on Facebook.
"The revolution must prevail."
Reuters news agency said her whereabouts were not immediately known. According to Sputnik News, she has been detained.
Lu Min, actor
One of the country's famous actors, Lu Min, was arrested on February 21 for backing the anti-military protests in Yangon.
Lu Min was one of the six celebrities who the army said were wanted under an anti-incitement law for encouraging civil servants to join in the protest.
The charges can carry a two-year prison sentence.
Free the artists!! Free Paing Takhon, Win Min Than, Ye Tike, Lu Min, Saw Phoe Khwar, Min Htin KoKo Gyi and Zarganar who used their platform to voice out for the truth. Please pray for their safety and speak out for them. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #Apr8Coup pic.twitter.com/ywjoQ9oD3i— May Toe Khine (@maytoekhine) April 8, 2021
May Toe Khine, actor
May Toe Khine, who describes herself in her Twitter profile as "Full Time Burmese Actress / Part Time Fashion Designer Student," tweeted after the TV announcement that her arrest warrant was "for simply doing my job as a civilian: using my platform to speak out the truth."
"Please always pay attention to news in Myanmar until we win," she wrote.
After Thursday's arrest of Paing Takhon, she wrote: "A very close friend of mine was abducted by terrorists this morning & another close friend."
"@nawphaw_ehhtar got issued a warrant too. I'm proud of both of them & praying for their safety. It's not easy to be in this situation that’s for sure. May justice prevail."
Naw Phaw Eh Htar, actor
Authorities have issued arrest warrant and charged actress Naw Phaw Eh Htar with violating Section 505(A) of the Penal Code for "spreading news to affect state stability." The penalty for the offence is up to three years' imprisonment.
"I just simply used my social media platform to speak out the truth! I won't be able to report much anymore! But I believe we will win," she wrote on her Twitter account.
Military juntas are notorious for lacking a sense of humor, because they rule by fear, not popular consent. Myanmar's is no exception, as it arrests the country's best known comedian, Zarganar. https://t.co/yBI2nInqhx pic.twitter.com/B2lNuku0Te— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) April 7, 2021
Authorities in Myanmar arrested Zarganar, the country's best-known comedian on Tuesday in Yangon.
Zarganar, 60, is a sharp-tongued satirist who has been in and out of prison since he was active in a failed 1988 popular uprising against a previous military dictatorship.
He is also well known for his social work, especially arranging assistance for victims of Cyclone Nargis in 2008.
It was not immediately clear what Zarganar, whose real name is Maung Thura, has been charged with.
Ye Tike, actor
Ye Tike was arrested earlier this week and charged under 505 (A) of the Penal Code, according to local media. Ye Tike was reportedly in possession of drugs at the time of arrest.
Saw Khwar Phoe, singer
Saw Khwar Phoe, an ethnic Karen reggae singer was detained on the day of the coup, according to Kyaw Thu Win, lead singer of Yangon-based punk band Rebel Riot.
“Win Min Than, a beauty Blogger, was arrested this evening (6April) around 8 PM by Junta’s Security Forces at BH Hotel, Shan State’s Capital Taunggyi. She was also issued a warrant to arrest under 505 (A),” local media reports https://t.co/sFmFBugn4z#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/ZTobRdFsdi— Kyaw Hsan Hlaing (@kyawhsanhlaing1) April 6, 2021
Win Min Than, beauty blogger
Popular beauty blogger Win Min Than was reportedly seized on Wednesday by security forces from a hotel where she had been staying with her mother, according to the local media.
She has been reportedly arrested in eastern Shan state under controversial 505 (A) for "spreading news to affect state stability."
Phway Phway, actor
Myanmar's junta has continued its hunt for Phway Phway, one of the most popular actors in the country.
"As a Myanmar person, I have never regretted what I have done and said. I will always be faithful to my principles and people. Please take care everyone," The Irrawaddy cited her as saying.
Other celebrities wanted for arrest include singers Lin Lin and Chit Thu Wai, actors Eaindra Kyaw Zin, Pyay Ti Oo and model May Myat Noe.