Aussie held in Myanmar had secret info: Coup chief

Legal action to be taken against Sean Turnell who was financial adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi

YANGON: Myanmar junta leader Min Aung Hlaing said yesterday the detention of an Australian financial adviser to deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi had led to the discovery of secret financial information, according to state-run MRTV television.

Australia has called for the release of Mr Sean Turnell, who was detained on Feb 6, five days after the Feb 1 coup that led to the arrest of Ms Suu Kyi herself.

"An attempt to flee the country by the former government's foreign economic adviser, Sean Turnell, was stopped in time and secret state financial information was found through him.

"Union-level ministers are taking legal actions in relation to that issue," MRTV quoted the junta leader as saying.

Meanwhile, two demonstrators were killed by gunshot wounds to the head yesterday, witnesses said, while shops, factories and banks were closed in Yangon as part of the protests against the country's military rulers.

Security forces were also deployed at hospitals and universities as part of efforts to enforce the law, state media said.

It was not clear who fired on the protesters in the northern town of Myitkyina, although both the police and military were at the scene, the witnesses said.

Photos posted on Facebook showed the bodies of two men lying on the street. Witnesses said they were taking part in a protest when the police fired stun grenades and tear gas.

Yesterday, demonstrators gathered in Yangon and in the second-biggest city Mandalay and several other towns, according to video footage.

At least nine unions covering sectors including construction, agriculture and manufacturing have called on "all Myanmar people" to stop work to reverse the coup and restore Ms Suu Kyi's government.

Allowing business and economic activity to continue would help the military "as they repress the energy of the Myanmar people", the unions said in a statement.

Only a few small tea shops were open in Yangon, witnesses said. Shopping centres were closed and there was no work going on at factories. - REUTERS