KEY POINTS

  • Model and actor Paing Takhon, has been arrested by the military for criticising the coup
  • His social media handles have been taken down following anti-coup comments

Myanmar's military junta arrested top model and actor Paing Takhon for speaking out against the coup that ended the country's short-lived democracy. Takhon is the latest in a line of celebrities targeted by the military as a part of a growing clampdown to suppress resistance to the February coup.

His social media handles, which had more than a million followers, have also been taken down.

The 24-year-old model was taken away at 5 am local time on Thursday after eight trucks carrying soldiers and police arrived at his mother's house in North Dagon, a township in Yangon. Takhon's sister, Thi Thi Lwin, wrote on Facebook that around 50 soldiers came to arrest her brother. 

Takhon, an active presence in both online protests and in-person rallies, has been slapped with charges that could attract up to three years in jail. The Myanmar military has arrested leading actor, model and heartthrob Paing Takhon for supporting the anti-coup protests The Myanmar military has arrested leading actor, model and heartthrob Paing Takhon for supporting the anti-coup protests Photo: AFP / STR

A close acquaintance said Takhon had been suffering from "serious depression," BBC reported. They also said he had been "suffering from a physical condition," adding that "he could not even stand or walk properly."

They added that he was "aware of the consequences and was not scared at all." 

Both his mobile phones were confiscated by the police.

He had shared images of ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. "We strongly condemn military coup. We demand immediate release of state counseller, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint, civilian government ministers and elected members of perliment," Takhon wrote in an online post which has since been taken down.

"We demand to respect 2020 election results and form new civillian, government soonest by NLD led perliment."

He faced charges under section 505a of the penal code, which criminalises comments that "cause fear" or spread "false news."    

The Assistance Association of Political Prisoners in Burma estimated that 2,750 people, from politicians to doctors, actors and social media influencers, have been detained and held in unknown locations.