Thailand refuses access to model that Myanmar junta announced in the parade speech

Han Lay, who captured international attention last year with a moving beauty pageant speech calling for urgent aid for the people of Myanmar during a military attack, did not have a valid visa to enter Thailand, the immigration department said.

The 23-year-old was not arrested and arrangements were made for her to board a flight from Thailand, the department said in a statement.

Nawit Itsaragrisil, founder of Thailand’s Miss Grand International pageant, which also represents Han Lay, said she had been in the transit area of ​​a Bangkok airport since Wednesday afternoon.

He said that Han Lay was stopped on arrival because she was the subject of an Interpol notice.

“She doesn’t want to go anywhere else. She wants to live in Thailand,” he told Reuters. “She is waiting for a solution on how she can stay in Thailand.”

Myanmar has been in crisis since a coup in February last year that sparked protests that the army suppressed with lethal force and thousands of arrests.

Since the seizure of power, the junta led by Min Aung Hlaing has begun a bloody crackdown on any opposition to their rule.
The junta’s attack has included multiple targets, from pro-democracy and youth groups, to activists, politicians and even celebrities and social media influencers.
The military has been accused by the United States, the United Nations and other international bodies of crimes against humanity and war crimes as it seeks to assert control over the people, who continue to wage a massive resistance campaign.

A spokesman for Myanmar’s ruling military council could not be reached for comment. Interpol did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Han Lay was the subject of an Interpol notice.

Han Lay was a contestant in the Miss Grand International when videos went viral on social media of her fighting back tears on stage while speaking about the bloodshed in Myanmar, on a day when more than 140 protesters were killed.

In an interview with Reuters last year, she said her people “will never give up”.

Han Lay’s Instagram posts indicate that she has spent most of the past year in Thailand. She was returning to the country on a flight from Vietnam when she was denied entry.

Additional reporting by CNN’s Heather Chen.