|Member of the Pyithu Hluttaw|
30 March 2011 – 23 July 2015
|Minister for Industry-1 of Myanmar|
15 November 1997 – 30 March 2011
|Succeeded by||Soe Thein|
|Minister for Livestock and Fisheries|
|Deputy Minister for Commerce|
1 December 1940|
Taungtha, Mandalay, Burma
|Died||July 23, 2015 (aged 74)[note 1]
|Cause of death||Stroke|
|Political party||Union Solidarity and Development Party|
|Spouse(s)||Khin Khin Yi|
|Alma mater||Mandalay University
Officer Training School
|Years of service||1964-1993|
Aung Thaung (Burmese: အောင်သောင်း; 1 December 1940[note 1] – 23 July 2015) was a Burmese politician and businessman. He served as a member of the country's lower house, the Pyithu Hluttaw, representing the constituency of Taungtha Township, after being elected in the 2010 general election.
Aung Thaung was born on 1 December 1940 in Taungtha Township, Mandalay Division, Burma. He graduated from Mandalay University in 1964 and subsequently became a teacher. He joined the army in 1964 and remained active in the military until 1993, when he became a deputy commerce minister.
After serving in the army for several years, Aung Thaung served as the country's Ministry of Industry-1 from 1997 to 2011 and was known for his close ties to Than Shwe and Maung Aye. Widely considered a hardliner, he was known for his widespread business interests in Myanmar.
He also served in prominent leadership positions in the Union Solidarity and Development Association, the progenitor of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the country's military-backed political party. On 2 May 2011, Aung Thaung was appointed Secretary 1 of the USDP. He was also involved in brokering several ceasefire agreements with ethnic rebel groups, but was sidelined from the Burmese government's negotiating team with the Kachin Independence Organization in 2012, citing "health reasons."
Allegations of human rights abuses
He is often cited by opposition activists as one of the key architects of the Depayin massacre. Leaked diplomatic cables linked him to plainclothes paramilitary militias that opposed and attacked protesters to incite counterattack from the protesters, which could serve as a pretext for their arrest. These paramilitary militias were accused of inciting anti-Muslim riots in Myitkyina in March 2013.
Aung Thaung and his family are among the wealthiest in Myanmar and have numerous business interests in the country, including Aung Yee Phyo Company and IGE Group of Companies, founded in Myanmar in 1994 and registered at Singapore in 2001. His sons are believed to have benefit from a system of economic patronage through Aung Thaung's ability to consolidate government contracts for construction and trade. In 2010, the Burmese government issued a license to establish a private bank, United Amara Bank, with his son's name, Nay Aung.
Aung Thaung was married to Khin Khin Yi. Aung Thaung's son Pyi Aung (also spelt Pye Aung) is married to Nanda Aye, the daughter of former ruling general Maung Aye. His other son Nay Aung runs Aung Yee Phyo Company, which deals in timber and the rice trades. Pyi Aung and Nay Aung are also managing directors of IGE Group of Companies. His son Moe Aung is a Commodore in Burmese Navy.
Aung Thaung collapsed on 8 July 2015, following complications from stroke, and was admitted to Naypyidaw General Hospital. Yangon-based neurosurgeons were flown in to treat him, but he did not regain consciousness. He was transported to Singapore for further treatment, with little chance of recovery.
- The Irrawaddy Magazine gives 1 December 1940 as his birth date (from his official passport), and if so, he died at the age of 75 (or 76 per traditional Burmese age counting). But the obituary announcement by the family in local newspapers Myanmar Alin and Kyemon mentions that he died at the age of 79.
- "Announcement of Treasury Sanctions Against Aung Thaung".
- "Mandalay Division". Alternative Asean Network on Burma. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Ye Mon; Htoo Thant (24 July 2015). "USDP lawmaker dies in Singapore". Myanmar Times. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- Wai Moe; Austin Ramzy (23 July 2015). "U Aung Thaung, Burmese Politician Accused of Abuses, Dies at 74". New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- Aung Zaw (June 2007). "Aung Thaung: Burma’s Untouchable Minister". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Martov, Seamus (11 May 2012). "What Does the Future Hold for Aung Thaung & Sons?". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- "Lower House speaker Thura Shwe Mann appointed USDP chairman". Mizzima News. 10 May 2011. Archived from the original on November 28, 2011.
- Seamus Martov (3 November 2014). "What Does the Future Hold for Aung Thaung & Sons?". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "Ex-USDA in election race ‘have blood on their hands’". Mizzima. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- "On the march to do business in Myanmar". www.atimes.com. Brian McCartan (26 August 2009). Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- "Four Businessmen Granted Private Bank License". The Irrawaddy (31 May 2010). Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- "Commission Regulation (EU) No 411/2010". European Commission. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- McCartan, Brian (26 August 2009). "On the march to do business in Myanmar". Asia Times. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Sandar Lwin (23 May 2011). "Biz tycoon to launch a ‘Wall Street Journal’". Myanmar Times. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Shwe Yee Saw Myint; Pyae Thet Phyo (10 July 2015). "U Aung Thaung unlikely to recover from injury: doctor". Myanmar Times. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- Way Moe and Austin Ramzy (24 July 2015). "U Aung Thaung, Burmese Politician Accused of Abuses, Dies at 74". New York Times. Retrieved 24 July 2015.