Thein Saung was an engineer in Burma and was a manager at Kanbauk Mine from 1981 thru 1988. He also worked as a teacher teaching English at Kanbauk High School. In 1988, he took part in the 8888 nationwide democracy uprising. After the military coup in September 1988, he left for the Thai-Burma border and became a freedom fighter belonging to All Burma Student's Democratic Front (ABSDF). Thein moved to the United States in 2011 and worked at several different jobs.