Myanmar beauty queen in Thai airport limbo, fears arrest at home

BANGKOK: A beauty queen who spoke out against Myanmar’s military rulers was stranded at Thailand’s international airport for a third day on Friday (Sep 23), hoping to be granted entry, as activists and her employer urged authorities not to send her back to her homeland.

Han Lay, who gained international attention last year with her pageant speech on the army’s deadly suppression of anti-junta protests in her native Myanmar, has been denied entry by Thai authorities despite having taken refuge in Thailand for the past year.

The 23-year-old model, whose real name is Thaw Nandar Aung, was stopped at Bangkok’s Suvarnhabhumi airport on Wednesday, when returning from a brief visit to Vietnam. The immigration bureau said she was using invalid travel documents.

Han Lay told Reuters she was stopped by immigration and spent one night in a detention room but was “okay now”.

“I am just waiting on what will happen next,” she said in a phone call, declining to reveal where she is now.

The events management team that works with Han Lay said they hoped she could reenter Thailand.

“The only thing we want is her not to return to Myanmar because if she returns, we don’t not know what will happen to her,” said a representative, who declined to be identified.

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