Celebrity model arrested amid coup crackdown

One of Myanmar’s most popular celebrities has been arrested by the military as part of a growing crackdown on artists and actors.

Paing Takhon, a model and actor with millions of fans in Myanmar and Thailand, had been active in both online protests and in-person rallies.

Takhon’s Instagram – with more than a million followers – has been taken down along with his Facebook account.

The military seized power in a coup on 1 February, sparking weeks of protests.

Around 600 civilians have been killed as forces respond to the demonstrations with increasing levels of violence.

According to a Facebook post by Takhon’s sister Thi Thi Lwin, around 50 soldiers with eight military trucks came to arrest him at around 05:00 local time (22:30 GMT Wednesday) on Thursday.

A close acquaintance of his, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC he was taken from his mother’s home in North Dagon, a township in Yangon.

They said that he had been suffering from “serious depression”.

The acquaintance added that Takhon had been suffering from a physical condition, adding that he could not even “stand or walk properly”, though no further details were given.

However, they said he had been “aware of the consequences” that awaited him, adding that he was “not scared at all”. Both his mobile phones were taken along with him, they added.