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Premier Soe Win admitted to Singapore hospital

world Updated: Mar 20, 2007 14:58 IST

Myanmar's prime minister Soe Win, the suspected mastermind of a deadly attack on opposition forces four years ago, is in a Singapore hospital with an unspecified medical problem, an embassy official told the agency on Tuesday.

Soe Win arrived "quite some time ago" and is in the Singapore General Hospital, said the official who asked not to be identified, and who declined to provide details of his condition.

"He is here in a private capacity and it is true that he is here for medical reasons," the official said. "He doesn't want any publicity whatsoever with regard to his health problem."

Officials rarely speak on the record in military-ruled Myanmar, for fear of repercussions by the junta, which runs the isolated Southeast Asian nation with an iron fist.

Soe Win, a lieutenant general, is thought to be aged about 58, and replaced the disgraced Khin Nyunt as prime minister in October 2004.

He had risen swiftly in the leadership after allegedly plotting an attack on the motorcade of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in May 2003.

After the attack she was imprisoned and then placed under house arrest, where she remains.

The clash between supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) and a pro-junta group left up to 80 people dead, according to dissidents. The government said four people were killed and 50 injured.

Soe Win, a tall and stern man, is considered to be among the leadership hardliners.

The embassy official in Singapore would not detail when Soe Win had arrived in the city-state, except to say it was prior to March.

On February 6, Myanmar state media said Soe Win had issued a warning to the nation's judges against corruption.

In January, Myanmar's aging junta leader Senior General Than Shwe returned home after medical tests at Singapore General Hospital.

The checks showed him to be "very much OK," the embassy official said at the time.