The Irrawaddy News Magazine - Interactive Edition
Irrawaddy Publishing Group - Interactive Edition



Q: Who do you think really killed Bogyoke Aung San?

A: Who really killed Bogyoke Aung San was the British government. It was their plot.

Q: Why do you say that?

A: I suppose there were three reasons why he was killed. Firstly, Bogyoke Aung San was the leader who could organise and unite the whole country so they were afraid of the whole of Burma uniting. This was the main reason.

Secondly, Bogyoke Aung San could reunite with the Communist Party of Burma. They were worried about that too. And finally, they supposed that they could handle Burma more easily if they removed him. These were the reasons why he was killed.

I better give my opinions and some evidence why I say that the British were involved in this assassination.

First evidence

From the very beginning, the British government had noticed that U Saw was conspiring something. They even understood that these actions were aimed at Bogyoke. Regarding this fact I remember two things.

First, before the assassination, U Saw’s house was kept under police surveillance. One of my relatives who was then a police officer, told me that he was on duty from a nearby house a week before the assassination. He said that they had to report their findings daily and thought surveillance had begun even before he was put on duty.

The second thing is that during 1960’s or 1970’s on one Martyr’s Day anniversary, one of the Burmese newspapers published an article written by a retired police officer who was then a station master in Mayangon police station which handles affairs in that quarter of Ady Road where U Saw’s house was located.

He wrote that their police station had reported all their findings of the activities concerning U Saw’s house and compound long before the assassination. They concluded that a plot was being planned that would soon materialize. Yet, there was no order to arrest them or any other action to prevent these plans. He wrote that he could not understand why.

From these two points we can conclude that, although the British government had noticed that U Saw was engaged in illegal activities aimed at someone in particular, they had never taken action to prevent them nor any precaution. It was a very obvious fact.

Second evidence

(a) The following facts came from the media at the time of the assassination. Captain Vivian, a British Army officer, was transferred to the police department just before this incident. He worked for the Arms and Ammunitions Supply Department. Vivian issued 200 Brenguns to U Saw. On 24.6.47 under the guidance of Vivian and U Saw, Ba Nyunt, a prominent follower of U Saw and his group wearing police uniforms had received ammunitions from No 226, Burma Ordinance Depot (BOD) without difficulty.

(b) On 10.7.47 the same group (Ba Nyunt, etc.) had received a second issue of ammunitions from Vivian from Mingaladon.

And on 21-7-47 when a pond near U Saw’s house was searched, 170 Brenguns and 100 Stenguns were discovered in airtight boxes underwater.

(c) This issue of arms and ammunitions provided clear evidence that the British were involved in the assassination. The amount was so large that it could have armed six infantry battalions (half of the total battalions of the Burma Army at that time). These arms were not bought by U Saw but were issued by Vivian without the knowledge of upper authorities. Capt. Vivian had no personal profit motive also, so it is a very obvious fact.

(d) This issue of arms not only encouraged the assassination of Bogyoke, but also had other implications afterwards. With this amount of arms U Saw could manage to kill Bogyoke and then revolt to seize power. By supplying arms in this way, the British could bring Burma into turmoil and into civil war.

Third evidence

(a) Actually U Saw had been collecting arms since 1946 and got in touch with Maj. C.H.H. Young, a British commander from No(1) BEME in Rangoon. From him, U Saw received many rifles, pistols and some ammunitions.

(b) Similarly, from Maj. Lance Dane (also a British) he received arms and ammunitions.

(c) According to newspapers, the bullets fired at Bogyoke were poisoned and known as "dumdum". Mong Pawn Saohpa, who was not seriously injured at the time, died later from these bullets.

(d) U Saw got these arms illegally from these two British majors prior to the assassination. This was also a very obvious fact that British were involved. These two pieces of evidence (the second and third) were also very obvious facts proving their involvement in this assassination. U Kin Oung, the son of U Tun Hla Aung (deceased) who was Deputy Police Commissioner during the investigation of the assassination, had written a book "Who killed Aung San", and some of the main facts were broadcasted on BBC in 1993. So the following evidence will be from those facts.

Fourth evidence

(a) About a week after the assassinations on July 25th, because of the rumours that the British government was involved, the pro-British U Nu government had arranged to announce the following notice. "The British Colonial government was not involved in this assassination and we, together with the British government, are trying very hard to discover a real culprit in the case".

(b) But this notice was never released because of a report in the newspapers on 28-7-47. The report said that, "when Bogyoke Aung San and the group went to London in January ’47 to sign the ‘Aung San-Attlee Agreement’, U Saw and Thakin Ba Sein refused to sign. U Saw, with the aim to disintegrate the AFPFL, remained in England and received five hundred thousand pounds. Some of the capitalists from England gave large amounts of money to U Saw."

(c) Because of these various reports about British involvement, it is clear that even U Nu’s government (who did not want to confront the British and wanted to protect them from various rumours) dared not announce the notice.

Fifth evidence

(a) Firstly, if U Saw was only seeking revenge, he should aim only at Bogyoke. But why did he kill the whole cabinet? (Seven other cabinet members, one secretary and one bodyguard, were also killed and only two cabinet members escaped.) So this was not only revenge, but beneficial for the new government and new cabinet members also. It’s very clear evidence.

(b) U Saw hoped that after this assassination, the governor would ask him to form a new government. Kin Oung’s book reveals when U Saw was arrested, a seal bearing, "U Saw, Prime Minister" was found in his house. Most of the newspapers and BBC reported this fact. Then, who opened the way for U Saw to have such expectations? Wasn’t this a very big motive for U Saw to kill?

Sixth evidence

(a) Frederick Henry, U Saw’s lawyer from England was suddenly assassinated in his room.

(b) F. Collins, a British private detective, after the assassination was also found dead and all of his papers were lost. Only from Kin Oung’s book do we know that they were killed. We never knew it earlier which makes it an interesting case. These two victims knew of the basic facts of the case, so they were killed to prevent a further leak. The killers were afraid some true facts of the case would leak. That’s why, they seemed to have killed these people.

(c) These facts also arouse the suspicion that British were involved in the assassination.

Seventh evidence

It was said that after U Saw was sentenced to death, he tried to contact British officials, to help him escape. He approached U San Tin, "Prison-in-charge", and offered a large amount of money. U San Tin discussed this with U Tun Hla Aung, and arranged a plan to help him. From then on, U Saw tried to collect money and surprisingly found out that many British officials were connected to U Saw. In those letters, they had used code names and words.

(a) The first person whom U Saw asked for money was Capt. Vivian. U Saw did not know that Vivian had been arrested at that time for issuing arms. Vivian wrote back to U Saw saying, "We can arrange everything for you. Why didn’t you contact a long man?"

(b) The second person U Saw had contacted and asked for money was Mr. John Stewart Benglen from the British Counsel of Rangoon. (He was a British Diplomat, so politically more important). He was shocked to receive the letter which he destroyed and then ordered the police officer away. Afterwards, on 22nd, 23rd, August, U Saw sent some letters again to Benglen not only asking for money but also threatening him. Benglen never received these because after receiving the first letter from U Saw, he prepared to leave Burma. He left his house shifting to the Strand Hotel. While he was preparing his departure, U Tun Hla Aung asked U Kyaw Nyein, then the Home Minister, to arrest Benglen. U Kyaw Nyein reported to the Governor who asked for further evidence. The next day, U Tun Hla Aung went to Benglen, (before he left) and showed him U Saw’s letter. Benglen was so frightened and said that as a diplomat, he could not be arrested. On this, Kin Oung wrote, "In fact Mr. Benglen definitely knew how he was involved in the assassination of Bogyoke." U Tun Hla Aung only asked him to leave Burma for good. From that day (4-9-47) onwards, there were no clues to his whereabouts.

(c) Vivian was the person who issued arms and ammunition to U Saw, so he was the most important person involved in the assassination. Benglen was also important as he was a diplomat. When Maj. Young was arrested and interrogated, it was found out that the connection between U Saw and Benglen was very much more than normal. From the fact that in a case of emergency, U Saw asked for money from these two important persons, we can conclude that the British were involved in the assassination.

The last evidence

When Karens withdrew from Insein in May 1949, Vivian followed them from Insein Jail. Until 1950, he was together with Saw Ba Oo Gyi near Kawkareik. Although Burmese authorities had said that he was killed, actually he had escaped back to England through Thailand in the middle of 1950 and only in about 1980 did he expire. This reflected the involvement of the British. Because of this, I’m convinced that the British were involved in the assassination of Bogyoke. As mentioned before, the fact that Vivian, Young and Dane had issued U Saw arms are obvious indicators of their involvement.

The issue of arms and ammunitions not only encouraged the assassination, but also U Saw’s rise to power.

In fact, Burma under Aung San and AFPFL leadership, was becoming organi-sed and united. From that point of view, I believe that the British were involved in the assassination — moreover in the subsequent occurrence of civil war.