It’s believed Thuzar Maung and her family were targets due to her activism work for Myanmar refugees and democracy.
The international human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Malaysian government to prioritise the investigation into the abduction of Myanmar refugee activist Thuzar Maung (also known as Thu Zar Moung) and her family from their home.
Thuzar Maung, 46; her husband, Saw Than Tin Win, 43; their daughter, Poeh Khing Maung, 16; and sons Aung Myint Maung, 21, and Thukha Maung, 17, were abducted by men claiming to be the police from their Ampang Jaya home about 4.30pm on 4 July.
Based on reports and CCTV footage, a car entered the gated community where the family lives. The driver told the security guards they were the police.
HRW said Thuzar Maung called a friend two hours later who heard her yell to her husband that unknown men were entering the house, before being disconnected.
At about 7.10pm, the same car and two cars owned by Thuzar Maung’s family were seen leaving the compound.
CCTV footage at the guard booth captured the license plate of the “police” car which Malaysian police have ascertained to be fake.
A driver’s black-gloved hand could also be seen flashing the gate card to exit the compound.
According to vehicle logs, the same car had entered the housing area on 19 June. Thuzar Maung’s colleagues who entered the house on 5 July said there were no signs of robbery.
Thuzar Maung’s phone and the phones of her husband and children seemed to be immediately turned off since no calls could go through.
HRW fears that Thuzar Maung and her family were taken in a planned operation due to her activism for democracy in Myanmar and criticism of abuses by Myanmar’s junta, which took power after the military coup on 1 February 2021.
Thuzar Maung fled Myanmar for Malaysia in 2015 to escape growing violence against Muslims. All five family members are recognized by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as refugees in Malaysia.
She serves as chair of the Myanmar Muslim Refugee Community and Myanmar Migrant Workers Committee and has worked closely with Myanmar’s opposition National Unity Government.
The police in Kuala Lumpur have opened an investigation into the case.
Foreign governments should press Malaysian authorities to quickly uncover the location of this family. Myanmar activists are apparently at risk even when they criticize the military junta from a country where they have sought asylum.Elaine Pearson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.