In 1973, Myint Swe became a Second Lieutenant
when he graduated from the 15th intake of Rangoon’s
Defense Service Academy, and rose quickly through the
ranks. He became Commander of the IB 97. In 1992 he joined
LIB 58. In 1996, as a Lieutenant Colonel, he took over
as the commander of LIB 404.
In 1997, he was promoted to Brigadier
General and named Commander of Rangoon’s LID 11.
He joined the SPDC in 2001, when he was
appointed Commander of the Southeastern Regional Command
when incumbent Thiha Thura Sit Maung died in a helicopter
crash. Later that year he was summoned back to the capital
to take over the Rangoon Command and was promoted to Major
General. He also functioned as Chairman of the Rangoon
Division Peace and Development Council.
Following the purge of Prime Minister
Khin Nyunt, Myint Swe took over as head of the new Military
Intelligence agency while retaining his position at the
top of Rangoon Command. In October 2005, he was promoted
to the rank of Lieutenant General.
In January 2006, Lt Gen Myint Swe moved
from Rangoon Commander to the newly created BSO-5. The
creation of the new Bureau coincided with the SPDC ministries’
move to Naypyidaw.
Myint Swe commands the Bureau of Special
Operations – 5 (BSO-5), which is responsible for
‘security, military, political, economic, and social
tasks’ in Naypyidaw and Rangoon.
1973 – Second Lieutenant
Unknown – Lieutenant Colonel
1997 – Brigadier General
2001 – Major General
2005 – Lieutenant General
Myint Swe has played a very public role
in major events in Burma.
Khin Nyunt's ouster
In 2004, Than Shwe turned to Myint Swe
to ouster intelligence chief and Prime Minister Khin Nyunt.
Myint Swe arrested Khin Nyunt at the airport after having
ordered the soldiers under his Rangoon division to arrest
key men attached to Khin Nyunt’s intelligence office.
Crackdown on information
In early 2006, Myint Swe launched a campaign
to track down citizens in Burma who were feeding the international
media with information with targets that ranged from businessmen
and civil servants to local journalists.
In October 2007, the New Light of Myanmar
reported an apparent gesture of reconciliation following
the Saffron Revolution. Myint Swe distributed about US$8,000
dollars in cash and large amounts of rice, cooking oil,
toothpaste and medicine to 50 monasteries and a nunnery
in Northern Rangoon. The paper said the donations were
made on behalf of military members and their families.
On 9 April 2008, Lt. Gen Myint Swe described
to a meeting of some 600 people, which included senior
government officials, the junta’s plans for rigging
the May 2008 constitutional referendum. Plans included
announcing only final results in one announcement from
the new capital, Naypidaw, rather than local tallies.
SPDC distributed aid to cyclone survivors
but first plastered the boxes with the names of top generals
in an apparent effort to turn the cyclone relief effort
into a propaganda exercise. State-run television continuously
runs images of top generals handing out boxes of aid to
survivors at elaborate ceremonies. One box bore the name
of Myint Swe in bold letters that overshadowed a smaller
label reading: "Aid from the Kingdom of Thailand."
On 14 May 2008, in the New Light of Myanmar,
photographs depicted survivors giving the two-handed sign
of respect, usually reserved for the Buddha, to Myint
Swe as he inspected a relief camp in Hlaingthayar Township