Burmese authorities seized more than 10 critics of the government and the Burmese correspondent of The Associated Press on Friday and Saturday, said Western diplomats contacted in Rangoon, the Burmese capital.

The diplomats said it appeared that the regime's most vocal and prominent critic - 70-year-old retired brigadier Aung Gyi - was among those rounded up in the nighttime sweep.Aung Gyi, a onetime supporter of strongman Ne Win, has been writing a series of letters critical of economic and political conditions in Burma.

The diplomats could not say whether those taken in had been formally arrested or merely brought in for questioning by the authorities or how long they would be detained.

The government made no official announcement about the seizures, which follow the retirement of Ne Win, who held power since 1962, and the election of hard-liner Sein Lwin as Burma's president and chairman of its ruling political party.

The diplomats, contacted by telephone from Bangkok, said Associated Press correspondent Sein Win was taken from his home in the northern suburbs of Rangoon by authorities at around midnight Friday.

Sein Win, former publisher of the English-language Guardian newspaper, was jailed for three years in the 1960s in connection with his journalistic activities.

In 1963 he was awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom by the Paris-based International Federation of Journalists for his work in fostering a free press in Burma.

Sein Win, in his mid-60s, began working for the AP shortly after his release in 1968.

Aung Gyi served on Ne Win's Revolutionary Council after the 1962 military coup but a year later he broke with Ne Win over economic policies and resigned.