Myanmar military authorities arrested a heartthrob model-actor with fans across Southeast Asia on Thursday, the latest and most famous of scores of celebrities to be rounded up for backing the anti-junta protests in a campaign that has driven other stars into hiding or exile.
Authorities arrested Paing Takhon, a film actor and popular male model, at his home in Yangon’s North Dagon township at dawn Thursday, with military-run Myawaddy TV saying that he has been charged under Section 505(a) of the Penal Code for spreading dissent against the military.
The 24-year-old model had been active in protests against the military dictatorship since soldiers overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government on Feb. 1.
His sister, May Chit Thway, wrote on Facebook that police and soldiers arrived in eight trucks to take Paing Takhon from his home. “Please speak out and pray for him,” she wrote in a phrase widely shared on social media by fans.
Paing Takhon had written on social media on Wednesday that he hadn’t been well for several days. “I used to pray whenever I worshipped Buddha for good health and to get peace in Myanmar as soon as possible,” he wrote.
His arrest unleashed a torrent of sympathy on social media, with #freepaingtakhon trending as a hashtag on Twitter and shared in many languages.
“Military in Myanmar arrested Paing Takhon, the most handsome person in Southeast Asia,” tweeted Germany-based Indonesian historian and blogger Nadya Karima Melati.
The young star’s arrest came two days after security authorities took away the country’s most famous comedian, Zarganar, in Yangon’s Tamwe township, his colleagues wrote on Facebook.
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Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane and Kyaw Min Htun. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.
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