Pictures and video footage showing the wedding of Burmese junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s daughter that have been circulating among Burmese at home and abroad have now become available on several web blogs.
The wedding was held in Rangoon, while an elaborate reception took place in the new capital Naypyidaw, near Pyinmana, in July. Attendees included top junta leaders.
Photographs and video obtained by The Irrawaddy show the bride, Thandar Shwe, decked in a variety of jewels—mostly diamonds—and her groom, the more casually dressed Maj Zaw Phyo Win, at the wedding ceremony at Zeyathiri government guesthouse in Rangoon.
The extravagant events were said to have been funded by numerous Burmese tycoons, including Htoo Trading’s Tay Za, Lo Hsing-han of Asia World and Chit Khaing of Eden, all of whom have close ties to Burma’s ruling generals.
Prior to the July wedding, rumor had it that the price of diamonds had increased, as invited guests and assorted cronies rushed to buy precious stones as wedding gifts for the bride. Some were said to have imported gems from Belgium, Switzerland and South Africa.
In the video clips and photos, Thandar Shwe, the junta chief’s daughter, and her mother Kyaing Kyaing, outshined their many guests with heavy strings of precious gems.
The clips also show the newlyweds passing out envelopes to their guests. Traditional Burmese weddings often close with the married couple passing out packets of money or other expensive gifts for their guests.
Sources have suggested that the marriage between Thandar Shwe, a former first secretary at the Burmese embassy in Beijing, and Maj Zw Phyo Win, an army officer and deputy director at the Ministry of Commerce, was an arranged one, and that wedding gifts to the couple included expensive jewelry, luxury cars and valuable plots of land.