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Myanmar Junta Tries to Confront Anti-Regime Beauty Queen Stranded in Thailand


Han Lay raises international awareness of the regime's brutality against Myanmar people on stage at the Miss Grand International 2020 pageant in March 2021. / Miss Grand International

Representatives of the Myanmar military regime attempted on Thursday night to gain physical access to an anti-regime Myanmar beauty queen who is stuck at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport after being denied entry by Thai immigration.

Miss Grand International Myanmar 2020 Han Lay, who has been stranded at the airport since Wednesday upon her arrival from Vietnam, wrote on her Facebook: “Myanmar Police are now at the Suvanabumi Airport and they are trying to reach me out to talk with me.”

She told The Irrawaddy on Friday morning that some Myanmar officials claiming to be “police” had asked Thai authorities to let them meet her.

“Thai authorities asked me if I’m OK to meet them. I said no. I have informed the UNHCR, too,” she said, referring to the UN’s refugee agency.

She was meeting with UNHCR officials on Friday.

On March 27 last year, less than two months after the February 2021 coup, Han Lay appealed through the media in Thailand, where she had been competing in a beauty pageant, for international help to rescue Myanmar from the regime.

Since then she has been living there and speaking out against the regime. On Sept. 18 she left for Vietnam to renew her visa and was detained at the airport on her return to Thailand.

In her interview with The Irrawaddy on Thursday, she said Thai immigration told her that her passport was on an Interpol list and was registered as missing.

Thai immigration police denied detaining her, saying they merely restricted her to the transit area so she can leave for another country, because she doesn’t have the proper documentation to enter the kingdom.