Myanmar model who criticised junta stuck in limbo after being denied entry to Thailand

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A Myanmar model who has spoken out against the military junta that seized power last year says she has sought help from the UN’s refugee agency after she was denied entry to Thailand.

Han Lay, who was stopped at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok this week, asked for help in a Facebook post on Thursday night, saying Myanmar police were at the airport and trying to speak with her.

Hanlay could not immediately be reached for comment.

Han Lay was a contestant in Miss Grand International Myanmar 2020 and has used her platform to raise awareness of the struggle for democracy in her country, where the military junta has used brutal violence to crush opposition.

On stage at a competition in Thailand in 2021, she gave an emotive speech in which she pleaded for the world to “please help Myanmar”. Han Lay struggled to fight back tears as she told the audience that, on that day alone, more than 100 pro-democracy protesters had been killed.

“I am deeply sorry for the people who have lost their lives,” she said.

Anyone in Myanmar who criticises the military regime risks arrest and imprisonment in facilities where reports of mistreatment and torture are common. More than 15,500 people have been arrested since the coup, according to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma). This includes social media influencers and models, as well as teachers, doctors and elected politicians.

Han Lay appears to have been spending time in Thailand since the coup, but was stopped from entering the country this week after reportedly returning from Vietnam.

Agencies

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