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Walkley-winning Australian journalist could be jailed for life after police raid in Burma

Ross Dunkley, co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the Myanmar Times, had his home raided for drugs on Thursday morning.

Walkley-winning Australian journalist could be jailed for life in Burma after police found ‘300g of ice, 800 synthetic pills containing caffeine and meth, crack and cannabis’ in his home

  • Award-winning Australian journalist Ross Dunkley has been arrested in Myanmar
  • Ross Dunkley, co-owner of the Myanmar Times, was arrested on drug charges
  • Dunkley’s home in Bahan Township was raided at 8:15 a.m. Thursday

An award-winning Australian journalist has been arrested for drug possession after his home was raided by Myanmar police on Thursday.

Ross Dunkley, co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the Myanmar Times, was arrested at his Bahan Township home with his business partner John McKenzie at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, according to Burmese publication AKonThi.

The men were reportedly found at a table strewn with bags of white powder, pipes, marijuana and bags of cash.

Ross Dunkley, co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the Myanmar Times, had his home raided for drugs on Thursday morning.

Ross Dunkley, co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the Myanmar Times, had his home raided for drugs on Thursday morning.

Ross Dunkley (pictured) poses with narcotics to be destroyed in Burma in June 2007

Ross Dunkley (pictured) poses with narcotics to be destroyed in Burma in June 2007

Police Major Thein Win told local website The Irrawaddy that nearly 800 yaba pills containing caffeine and crystal methamphetamine and 303 grams of ice were allegedly found in his home.

Other local media reports claim that only 30 yaba pills were found.

Officers confirmed that Dunkley was charged with possession and use of drugs, but not trafficking.

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“Actually he. [Dunkley] he is more of a drug user than a drug dealer,” Police Major Thein Win told The Irrawaddy.

Drug laws in Myanmar are significantly stricter than in Australia.

Under Myanmar’s anti-narcotics law, possession and trafficking of illegal drugs is punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison and, in more extreme cases, life or the death penalty.

In 2011, Dunkley was sentenced to a month in prison (pictured) for assaulting a 29-year-old woman widely believed to be a sex worker he met in a Burmese nightclub.

In 2011, Dunkley was sentenced to a month in prison (pictured) for assaulting a 29-year-old woman widely believed to be a sex worker he met in a Burmese nightclub.

  Ross Dunkley is the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the Myanmar Times

Ross Dunkley is the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the Myanmar Times

Both Dunkley and Mr McKenzie are in police custody while inquiries continue.

This is not the first time Dunkley has been caught up with local authorities.

In 2011, Dunkley was sentenced to a month in prison for assaulting a 29-year-old woman widely reported to be a sex worker he met in a Burmese nightclub.

Dunkley won the Walkley Award in 1982 for reporting on the impact of a series of waterfront disputes on agricultural businesses.

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