General Khin Nyunt (Burmese: ခင်ညွန့်; MLCTS: hkang nywan.; pronounced [kʰɪ̀ɰ̃ ɲʊ̰ɰ̃]; born 23 October 1939)[1][2] is a Burmese military officer and politician. He held the office of Chief of Intelligence and was Prime Minister of Myanmar from 25 August 2003 until 18 October 2004.

Khin Nyunt
KhinNyunt cropped.jpg
Prime Minister of Myanmar
In office
25 August 2003 – 18 October 2004
LeaderThan Shwe
Preceded byThan Shwe
Succeeded bySoe Win
Secretary 1 of the State Peace and Development Council
In office
1997 – 25 August 2003
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byThein Sein
Personal details
Born (1939-10-23) 23 October 1939 (age 82)
Kyauktan Township, British Burma
Spouse(s)Khin Win Shwe
ChildrenThin Le Le Win, Lt.-Col. Zaw Naing Oo, Dr. Ye Naing Win
Military service
Branch/serviceMyanmar Army
Years of service1960–2004

Early life and educationEdit

Khin Nyunt was born on 23 October 1939 in Kyauktan Township, near Rangoon (now Yangon). He is of Burmese Chinese descent; his parents are Hakkas with ancestry from Meixian, Meizhou, Guangdong, China.[3][4]

Khin Nyunt graduated from the 25th batch of the Officer's Training School in 1960, after dropping out of Yankin College in the late 1950s.[5]

Khin Nyunt as a Lieutenant in 1962.

Political careerEdit

After his career in the military, he was ordered back to Rangoon in 1984 after an attack on a visiting South Korean delegation. Twenty-one people, including three South Korean cabinet ministers, died during the attack, which occurred on 9 October 1983 and was perpetrated by terrorists sent from North Korea.[6] Khin Nyunt was then appointed Chief of Intelligence. From the mid-1980s to the late 1990s Khin Nyunt was considered to be a protégé of Ne Win, who supposedly retired from politics in July 1988 but who is thought to have continued to be an influential figure behind the scenes until about the late 1990s.

The 1988 uprising that occurred from March to September 1988 was quelled by the military when the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) was formed on 18 September 1988. The SLORC was renamed as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in 1997, and Khin Nyunt was appointed as its first secretary (Secretary −1), a post which he held until his appointment as Prime Minister in August 2003.

Shortly after Khin Nyunt was appointed as Prime Minister, he announced a seven-point roadmap to democracy; this roadmap was heavily criticized by the Burmese opposition as well as by many foreign governments especially Western ones as it envisaged a permanent military participation in the government. The so-called 'systematic and step-by-step implementation of the road-map to democracy' also contained no time-line.

The first 'step' of the road map was the recalling of the suspended National Convention (NC) which first met in January 1993. The NC was supposed to 'lay down' the basic principles for a new Constitution. The NC met sporadically until the approval of a new constitution in 2008 by what many observers considered the rigged 2008 constitutional referendum.

Prime MinisterEdit

After his appointment as Prime Minister, Khin Nyunt's role in the government gave rise to some hope and speculation that there might be some 'liberalization', as he was considered a moderate pragmatist who saw the need of a dialogue with the democratic opposition. The SPDC Chairman Than Shwe and his deputy, General Maung Aye, were seen as hardliners who opposed any relaxation of the military's iron grip of the country.


From 1988 until his purge in 2004, he oversaw the arrest of around 10,000 people. Many were subjected to torture and farcical trials that resulted in decades-long prison sentences. Dozens of his military intelligence units harassed, intimidated and detained opposition activists. His military intelligence units infiltrated almost every organization in the country and maintained networks of spies in almost every neighborhood. Their agents were placed in customs, immigration and police departments, and officers military intelligence even monitored other senior military officials, including top generals.

He was instrumental in shutting down the universities, reopening them only after they had been relocated to remote, ill-equipped campuses where students could no longer organize protests or get a meaningful education.[7]

Arrest and releaseEdit

On 18 October 2004, in a one-sentence announcement signed by SPDC Chairman Than Shwe, Khin Nyunt was "permitted to retire on health grounds". However, he was immediately arrested and placed under protective custody.[8]

Allegations of Khin Nyunt's corruption were officially made several days later. Khin Nyunt's dismissal and arrest were the result of a power struggle in which the junta's strongman, Than Shwe, successfully managed to clip the power of the "intelligence faction" of the Burmese Armed Forces which Khin Nyunt led. Most of the Generals and military officers in the SPDC, like Than Shwe, did not want to negotiate with Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD).

On 5 July 2005, Khin Nyunt was tried by a Special Tribunal inside Insein prison near Rangoon on various corruption charges. On 21 July 2005, he was sentenced to 44 years in prison, though it is believed that he is ostensibly serving his sentence under house arrest instead of in prison. Khin Nyunt's sons were also sentenced to 51 and 68 years respectively. It is unclear whether his wife was also indicted.[9]

In July 2009, a video of Khin Nyunt at the home of former Burmese minister Brigadier-General Tint Swe, taken on 7 July 2009, was leaked to the public and there have been reports that Khin Nyunt and his wife have been able to travel outside their home on occasion, since March 2008.[10] In December 2010, another 16-minute video of Khin Nyunt meeting with the Chief of Police Khin Yi and other senior police officers was circulated on YouTube.[11]

His brother-in-law was Dr. Than Nyein, a long-term political prisoner under military regime and founder of National Democratic Force Party, who died of lung cancer at Yangon on 21 May 2014.[12] Tin Htut, his son in law, has been in prison since October 2004. Khin Nyunt was released from house arrest on 13 January 2012 by the order of President Thein Sein.[13]

Later lifeEdit

After his release from house arrest, Khin Nyunt moved to a villa in Mayangone Township. He opened a coffee shop, art gallery, and a souvenir store which sells items to tourists, such as wood carvings.[14] On 2 March 2015, he released his 657-page autobiography.

Personal lifeEdit

He is married to Khin Win Shwe, a medical doctor, and has a daughter, Thin Le Le Win, two sons, Lieutenant Colonel Zaw Naing Oo and Dr. Ye Naing Wynn, who owns Bagan Cybertech, one of the few internet service providers available in Myanmar.[15], and reportedly seven grandchildren.


  1. ^ Hmaw Win Thar U Khin Nyunt (April 2015). ကြုံတွေ့ခဲ့ရ ကျွန်တော့ဘဝအထွေထွေ [My life, my experiences (third edition)] (in Burmese). Yangon: 100 kinds of flowers publishing house (ပန်းမျိုးတစ်ရာစာပေ). p. 36. "...ဦးဘညွန့်(ရှေ့နေ)၊ မိခင် ဒေါ်သိန်းရှင်တို့က ၁၃၀၁ ခုနှစ် သီတင်းကျွတ်လဆန်း ၁၁ ရက်နေ့မှာ မွေးဖွားခဲ့တာပါ။..."
  2. ^ Than Win Hlaing (November 2014). ဦးခင်ညွန့် (သို့မဟုတ်) ရက်စက်မှုအပေါင်းသရဖူဆောင်းခဲ့သူ [U Khin Nyunt (or) the one crowned with extreme cruelty (first edition)] (in Burmese). Yangon: U Lwin Oo (Lwin Oo publishing house). p. 23. "...Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, erroneously described his birthdate as 11 October 1939
  3. ^ Kuppuswamy, C.S. (11 September 2004). "Myanmar: The shake- up and the fall out". South Asia Analysis Group. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2006.
  4. ^ "钦纽1939年出生于缅甸孟邦首府毛淡棉。父母都是来自广东梅县的客家人". Archived from the original on 20 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt". Mizzima News. 1 April 2010. Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  6. ^ Min Lwin (30 June 2009). "Burmese Internet Users Share Video, Documents about North Korea". The Irrawaddy. Archived from the original on 9 December 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Criminals at Large | The Irrawaddy Magazine". 23 April 1992. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Burma's prime minister 'arrested'". BBC News. 19 October 2004.
  9. ^ "Burma ex-PM guilty of corruption". BBC News. 22 July 2005. Retrieved 30 June 2006.
  10. ^ "Khin Nyunt Appears in Public". The Irrawaddy. 10 July 2009. Archived from the original on 2 March 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  11. ^ Yeni (4 December 2010). "Khin Nyunt Video Resurfaces with Sound Restored". The Irrawaddy. Archived from the original on 20 August 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  12. ^ "NDF leader Dr Than Nyein dies of lung cancer". Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  13. ^ [1] Archived 3 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "From Feared Myanmar Spymaster to Art Gallery Owner | The Irrawaddy Magazine". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Junta Blocks Google and Gmail". The Irrawaddy. 30 June 2006. Retrieved 30 June 2006.[dead link]

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Myanmar
Succeeded by