Two Myanmar citizens plotted to attack and potentially kill the country’s ambassador to the United Nations in a Westchester County scheme, the feds said Friday.
The suspects, Phyo Hein Htut and Ye Hein Zaw, were each indicted on charges of conspiracy to assault and make a violent attack upon a foreign official, in this case, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, authorities said.
Tun is the UN ambassador representing Myanmar’s elected government, which was overthrown in a February coup by the Burmese military.
Htut was living in New York when a Thai weapons trafficker communicated with him in July and early August, according to the indictment.
The trafficker, who sells weapons to the Burmese military, hatched a plan for Htut to pay hired goons to attack the ambassador in an attempt to get him to step down from his post, US authorities said. If Tun refused to vacate the position, the arms dealer said, the attackers would kill him, according to the feds.
Zaw, 20, was a moneyman in the scheme, wiring Htut, 28, about $4,000 as an advance payment for the attack, which was planned to take place in Westchester County, authorities said. For an additional, $1,000 the attackers would “finish” the ambassador, the feds said.
On Wednesday, Ambassador Tun had told Reuters that police were guarding him after authorities caught wind of the threat.
“Reportedly there is some threat. The police are working on it. Necessary security has be provided by the police,” he said.
Htut and Zaw face five years in prison if convicted. They were expected to be presented in White Plains federal court later Friday.