YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — An Australian journalist who was a pioneering publisher in Southeast Asia was sentenced Wednesday to 13 years in a Myanmar prison for drug possession.
Ross Dunkley was arrested when police raided his home in Yangon in June last year. His British business partner, John McKenzie, was also arrested and received the same sentence, while five Myanmar women caught in the raid were each given 11-year sentences. Police said they found methamphetamine tablets and crystal methamphetamine, and small quantities of marijuana, heroin and opium in Dunkley’s home.
Dunkley co-founded or acquired English-language publications in formerly socialist states that were seeking foreign investment as they liberalized their economies, but was sometimes criticized for doing business with authoritarian regimes. He was involved in startup projects in Vietnam in 1991 and Myanmar in 2000, and later acquired Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post. He is no longer linked with any of them.
In 2011, Dunkley served a one-month sentence for assaulting a Myanmar woman he met at a nightclub in Yangon.