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

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By Jiraporn Kuhakan

BANGKOK (Reuters) – A beauty queen who spoke out towards Myanmar’s navy rulers was stranded at Thailand’s worldwide airport for a 3rd day on Friday, hoping to be granted entry, as activists and her employer urged authorities to not ship her again to her homeland.

Han Lay, who gained worldwide consideration final yr together with her shifting pageant speech on the military’s lethal suppression of anti-junta protests in her native Myanmar, has been denied entry by Thai authorities, regardless of having taken refuge in Thailand for the previous yr.

The 23-year-old mannequin, whose actual title is Thaw Nandar Aung, was stopped at Bangkok’s Suvarnhabhumi airport on Wednesday, when getting back from a quick go to to Vietnam. The immigration bureau mentioned she was utilizing invalid journey paperwork.

The occasions administration workforce that works with Han Lay mentioned they hoped she may 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,” mentioned a consultant, who declined to be recognized as a result of she was not authorised to talk to media.

Asked about Han Lay’s case on Friday, Thai international ministry spokesperson Tanee Sangrat mentioned authorities “did not make an arrest and have no plans to send her anywhere at this stage”.

Travel hub Thailand has typically been caught up in tugs of battle between nations in search of the return of residents and activists who say these people could be persecuted if despatched home.

These included an Australia-based soccer participant arrested in Thailand in 2018 at the request of Bahrain for criticising its monarchy, and an 18-year-old Saudi lady who was stranded at Bangkok’s airport after fleeing her household.

A Myanmar junta spokesman couldn’t be reached for touch upon Han Lay’s case.

She and her supervisor have mentioned she was the topic of an Interpol crimson discover, the very best alert degree for a person. Thai police and the immigration bureau have declined to remark and Reuters couldn’t independently affirm such a discover.

In a Facebook put up, Han Lay mentioned Myanmar police have been at Bangkok’s airport in search of to satisfy her, however she refused and had contacted the United Nations refugee company.

Thai police referred Reuters to the immigration bureau on the matter.

The UNHCR mentioned its coverage was to not affirm particular person instances.

In a Tweet, Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch mentioned Thai authorities ought to grant Han Lay safety and “under no circumstances” return her to Myanmar.

(Reporting by Jiraporn Kuhakan, Chayut Setboonsarng, Juarawee Kittisilpa and Reuters employees; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)

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