Philip Blackwood, Tun Thurein and Htut Ko Ko Lwin were found guilty of insulting religion and disobeying an order from a public servant. They have been sentenced to two and a half years hard labour.
18/12/ court hearing-
Three Rangoon nightclub managers – New Zealander Phil Blackwood, and Burmese Tun Thurein and Htut Ko Ko Lwin – will face trial on charges of insulting Buddhism, a court in Bahan Township decided on Thursday.
A judge upheld charges under Penal Code articles 295, 295(a) and 188 against the trio, who are accused of religious offenses after posting an image of Buddha wearing headphones on social media as part of a promotion for the newly opened VGastro Bar.
The three were denied bail and a trial date was set for 26 December.
FB PAGE- VGastro management would like to express our sincere regret if we have offended the citizens of this wonderful city, who have welcomed us so warmly and generously. Our intention was never to cause offense to anyone or toward any religious group. Our ignorance is embarrassing for us and we will attempt to correct it by learning more about Myanmar’s religions, culture and history, characteristics that make this such a rich and unique society. We thank the citizens of Yangon for their patience and kindness and sincerely hope that our apology will be accepted.
Three nightclub managers held in Insein prison, pending 18 December hearing. Bail denied
A New Zealand bar manager is due to appear in a Burma court Thursday after he was arrested for allegedly insulting religion by using an image of the Buddha wearing headphones in a promotion, police said.
The promotional poster, which appeared on the bar’s Facebook page, sparked outrage on social media in the predominantly Buddhist nation, which has seen a surge in religious nationalism in recent months.
General manager Philip Blackwood, 32, owner Tun Thurein, 40, and manager Htut Ko Ko Lwin, 26, were detained for police questioning Wednesday and the bar was shuttered after a complaint by an official from Myanmar’s Religious Department, police said.
The posting for the newly opened V Gastro bar, a tapas restaurant and nightclub in a Yangon embassy area, showed a psychedelic mock-up of the Buddha wearing DJ headphones to trail a cheap drinks night this Sunday.
“According to Mr Philip’s statement, they were trying to promote the bar. Buddha grabs people’s interest… however Buddhists cannot accept it,” a police official in Yangon’s Bahan township told reporters late Wednesday.
“This insults the religion. So we opened the case under the Religion Act. We will file a lawsuit,” he said, requesting not to be named.