Model who criticized Myanmar’s military fears repatriation

Sep 22, 2022, 3:23 PM | Updated: Sep 23, 2022, 9:23 am
Thaw Nandar Aung, a model from Myanmar speaks to a reporter in Bangkok, Thailand on March 31, 2021....

Thaw Nandar Aung, a model from Myanmar speaks to a reporter in Bangkok, Thailand on March 31, 2021. The model, also known as Han Lay, from Myanmar who denounced her country’s military rulers last year from the stage of a beauty pageant in Thailand said Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, she fears she may be forced back home. (AP Photo/Napaxalun Sattayatam)

(AP Photo/Napaxalun Sattayatam)

BANGKOK (AP) — A model from Myanmar who denounced her country’s military rulers last year from the stage of a beauty pageant in Thailand said Friday she fears she may be forced back home.

Thaw Nandar Aung, also known as Han Lay, told The Associated Press by phone that she has been stuck at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport since being denied reentry to Thailand when she arrived Wednesday night from a short trip to Vietnam. She has been living in Thailand but needed to exit and reenter in order to extend her stay.

She said she met Friday with representatives of the United Nations refugee agency in an effort to avoid being sent back to Myanmar, where she fears harsh punishment from the military government she has criticized.

People denied entry to Thailand are usually deported to their last point of departure, but the U.N. agency advised her she would be arrested in Vietnam and then repatriated to Myanmar.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanee Sangrat confirmed in a text message that Thaw Nandar Aung was denied entry into Thailand “due to an issue with her travel document.”

“The relevant authorities did not make an arrest and have no plans to send her anywhere at this stage,” he said.

Myanmar’s military seized power in February 2021 from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and has cracked down heavily on widespread opposition to its rule. It used lethal force to quash demonstrations and has arrested critics, including actors and other celebrities, under various laws with potential penalties ranging from three years’ imprisonment to death. In July, authorities executed four activists who were accused of involvement with terrorist activities.

Thaw Nandar Aung said she was charged in absentia in September last year under a section of Myanmar’s Penal Code covering sedition for speaking out against the military takeover at the pageant and online. The statute criminalize attempts to “bring into hatred or contempt, or excite or attempt to excite disaffection towards the government,” and the military or its personnel, and carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

She said that on arrival in Bangkok, Thai immigration authorities entered her name in their online database and then asked her if she had reported her passport missing in Vietnam, to which she replied “no.” She said they then showed her a screen they said indicated there was an Interpol Red Notice out for her, which means the police force of a member country had asked for her to be detained.

It could not be immediately confirmed whether Interpol has posted such a notice. However, Myanmar’s military government has unilaterally revoked many of its leading opponents’ passports in an effort to restrict their activities.

On Thursday night, Thai police told her that Myanmar police had come to see her, but she declined to meet them, Thaw Nandar Aung said.

Thaw Nandar Aung used her platform as the Myanmar contestant at last year’s Miss Grand International beauty pageant in the Thai capital, Bangkok, to speak about the killings of pro-democracy protesters in her homeland.

“Every citizen of the world wants the prosperity of their country and the peaceful environment,” she said. “In doing so, the leaders involved should not use their power and selfishness.”

“Today in my country, Myanmar, while I am going to be on this stage, there are so many people dying, more than 100 people died today. I am deeply be sorry for all the people who have lost their lives,” she said, pausing frequently to fight back tears.

She added: “I want to say for here that, please help Myanmar. We need your urgent international help right now.”

Thaw Nandar Aung said she was optimistic after meeting Friday with representatives of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees’ office that she would not be sent back to Myanmar. She said they told her they were working as quickly as possible to find her a country she could go to for asylum, possibly in a few days.

Meanwhile, she must stay in a room in the departure section of the international area of the airport, with guards provided by the Thai government, she said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo from Flickr...
Associated Press

Washington kills 2 wolves to prevent preying on cattle

Biologists working for Washington have killed two members of the Leadpoint wolf pack this week in an effort to stop the pack from preying on cattle
9 hours ago
Associated Press

Myanmar accuses rebels in east of shooting passenger plane

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s military government accused rebel forces in the eastern state of Kayah of firing at a passenger plane as it was preparing to land Friday, wounding a passenger who was hit by a bullet that penetrated the fuselage. Rebel groups denied the allegation. State television MRTV said the Myanmar National Airlines plane, […]
1 day ago
FILE - Only a few scoops are left in a mother's next to last can of baby formula in Laurel, Md., on...
Associated Press

US outlines plan for long-term baby formula imports

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators on Friday unveiled their plan to allow foreign baby formula manufacturers to stay on the market long term, an effort to diversify the nation’s tightly concentrated industry and prevent future shortages. The Food and Drug Administration said recent entrants to the U.S. market will have until October 2025 to make […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

In your debt: 3 steps to lower the cost of your debt

Does the thought of dealing with your debt make you want to go back to bed? More than 1 in 5 Americans (22%) are likely to put off creating a debt payoff plan, according to a June 2022 survey from NerdWallet conducted online by The Harris Poll. That’s a lot of procrastination, and it’s no […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Authorities: Texas man shoots 2 migrants near Mexico border

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Two brothers — including one who has been a warden at a detention center that has housed immigrants — have been arrested in Texas after authorities say one of them opened fire on a group of migrants getting water near the U.S.-Mexico border, killing one man and shooting a woman in […]
1 day ago
FILE - Federal Reserve Board Vice Chair Lael Brainard speaks during a conversation with leaders fro...
Associated Press

Brainard warns US rates to stay high, notes global impact

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard said Friday that U.S. interest rates will likely have to remain high for an extended period to combat inflation, capping a week of tough rhetoric by Fed officials. In remarks at a conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Brainard said that international […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Model who criticized Myanmar’s military fears repatriation