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Yeoh saddened by Burma deportation

Former Bond girl Michelle Yeoh, who plays Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an upcoming film, says she is "saddened" by her deportation from the country.

The 48-year-old Malaysian actress arrived in the country's main city, Rangoon, last week and was deported the same day because she was on a blacklist.

In her first comment on the deportation, Yeoh said in a statement that she was "shocked and terribly saddened by the action".

She said she harbours no ill will and remains fond of Burma and its people. Yeoh said she was treated "cordially" by immigration officials but was not given a reason for her deportation. Burma's repressive government has rejected visa requests from journalists and critics for years.

The star of films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha and the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies was making a "private trip as a tourist," said assistant Kit Wong.

"I continue to cherish hopes to see this country continue its progress toward peace and democracy and to be able to return soon," the Malaysian star said in her statement.

Yeoh visited Burma in December to meet Suu Kyi but her portrayal of the democracy leader in the Luc Besson picture The Lady was shot in Thailand. The film is scheduled to be released later this year.

Suu Kyi, 66, spent most of the last two decades detained by the former military junta. She was released last year, just days after elections that her party boycotted and in which she was barred from being a candidate.

The elections were the nation's first in 20 years, and in March, the junta handed power to a nominally civilian government. But critics say little has changed.

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