On Thursday, Thailand’s immigration authorities prohibited the former Miss Grand Myanmar from entering Thailand after arriving from a trip abroad at Suvarnabhumi airport.
The Myanmar model and beauty pageant fled to Thailand earlier this year after speaking out against the military coup in her home country.
According to Pol Maj Gen Archayon Kraithong, the deputy chief of the Immigration Bureau, Miss Han Lay, Miss Grand International Myanmar 2020, arrived at the airport on Wednesday afternoon from Da Nang, Vietnam.
Contrary to earlier reports in Thai media, he said she was not taken into police custody.
According to Pol Maj Gen Archayon, Miss Han Lay was denied entry because of an issue with her passport, as per Section 12 of the Immigration Act of 1979.
Miss Han Lay, aka Thaw Nandar Aung, was said to be on Interpol’s wanted list, but this was ultimately proven to be untrue.
An immigration police insider told Reuters that the passport irregularity and Han Lay’s inability to enter Thailand resulted from the Myanmar junta cancelling her passport.
According to Pol Maj Gen Archayon, she will either be returned to the country from which her flight originated or be allowed to fly to a different destination if her request is approved by the airline.
A Facebook user going by the handle “Natty in Myanmar” claims Miss Han Lay has since applied for asylum with The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Thailand.
Last year, 23-year-old Han Lay captivated the world with a passionate speech at the Miss Grand International pageant in Bangkok, pleading for immediate aid for the people of Myanmar.
As a result, the Myanmar government reportedly issued an arrest warrant for her. She reported that she had reached out to her loved ones and learned they were fine at the time. Since then, she has been settling in Thailand.
Mr. Han Lay, represented by Nawat Itsaragrisil, the creator of the Miss Grand International pageant, said that Miss Han had been waiting in the airport’s transit area since Wednesday afternoon.
He claimed that Han Lay was detained at the airport upon her return from Vietnam due to an outstanding Interpol warrant for her arrest.
She insists on staying put. He told Thai media that “she wants to live in Thailand.” She’s holding out hope that someone will figure out a way for her to remain in Thailand.
The Military coup last year sparked protests that the military brutally put down with thousands of arrests; Myanmar has been in a state of crisis.
Numerous people and organizations were targeted by the junta’s crackdown, including those advocating for democracy and among the young, as well as activists, politicians, celebrities, and people with significant online followings.
It was unsuccessful in obtaining comment from Myanmar’s ruling military council representative. Whether or not Han Lay was the subject of an Interpol notice was not immediately clarified by Interpol.
Last year, Han Lay told Reuters that her people “will never give up.”
According to her Instagram account, Han Lay has been living in Thailand for a year.