Myanmar Military Arrests Celebrity Model Amid Crackdown on Anti-Coup Protesters

The military in Myanmar has arrested model and actor Paing Takhon as part of an increasing crackdown on celebrities who have criticized the coup.

About 50 soldiers with eight military trucks arrived at around 5 a.m. local time on April 8 at the home of Takhon’s mother in Yangon to detain him, according to local media reports and a Facebook post by Takhon’s sister Thi Thi Lwin.

“As he’s seriously ill, they arrested him calmly without violence. We do not know where he’s taken,” Thi Thi Lwin said in her post.

An acquaintance of Takhon, who requested to not be named, told BBC News that Takhon had been suffering from “serious depression” and from poor physical condition, adding that he could not even “stand or walk properly.”

The acquaintance further said that Takhon had been “aware of the consequences” of his participation in online and in-person protests against the coup that the military staged last Feb. 1, sparking weeks of unrest.

The acquaintance also said that the military also took Takhon’s mobile phones.

Takhon’s social media accounts — including his Instagram that has over one million followers — had been removed, though it is not yet clear who removed them.

Authorities have published names and photographs of around 120 celebrities in daily wanted lists on TV and state-owned newspaper, including singers Lin Lin and Chit Thu Wai and actors Phway Phway and Eaindra Kyaw Zin.

Local news website The Irrawaddy reported that security forces took popular beauty blogger Win Min Than last April 7 at a hotel where she had been staying with her mother.

According to non-profit Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), security forces have arrested or charged 2,857 people since the coup.

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