‘Myanmar police’s hunt for ‘stolen’ tiara begins following BBC’s advice’
May Myat Noe, Myanmar’s first international beauty queen was too young to enter Miss Asia Pacific World and was stripped of her title for borrowing money for $18 bras and complaining about a violation of her human rights, according to a senior official of the beauty contest Saturday.
May Myat Noe is still only 15 years old despite the fact the organizer’s website states that she is 18 years old, the minimum age required to enter the contest, said Y.C. Choi, the founder and president of Miss Asia Pacific World.
“Her birthday is on Oct. 13, 1998,” he reluctantly acknowledged.
He, however, argued that he belatedly learned about her real age by checking her passport in early May, just days before the opening of the contest.
The top official also claimed that the teenage girl was mature enough to enter the beauty pageant as well as to undergo breast augmentation surgery.
“She is already mature. She is 173 cm tall and will not grow taller,” he argued.
“Our minimum required age is 18. (We demand the minimum age) might be (18 years old). It is not a must. Might be 18 years old.”
Contrary to his claims, the organization’s official website states that “All submissions should be female, single between the ages of 18-27 years old.”
When asked what prompted him to disqualify May Myat Noe as the winner of Miss Asia Pacific World 2014, Choi argued that she disgraced the organization by borrowing money to buy $18 bras after breast implants.
“Her breasts became bigger after undergoing the surgery on the weekend. She said a brassiere is $18 and she needed to buy one because her breasts became bigger,” he said, stressing that he urged her to wait until his staff member would bring five large bras to her on Monday.
“Nevertheless, she complained that she had no food to eat. And she borrowed money from a nurse because of 18,000 won($18). This was something we could not tolerate.”
May Myat Noe, however, told the Korea Observer that she didn’t borrow any money from a nurse.
“We didn’t. Why should we? And even If I did, it was right for me to do so because they left us there with no food and care,” she said.
“But we didn’t. They only thing we did was exchange my mom’s dollars to korean won with them. That’s all.”
Choi claimed that May Myat Noe borrowed money from the nurse twice even though she was accompanied by her mother, who he claims to have refused to pay a cut to her Myanmar agent and his organization even though her daughter earned about $30,000 for appearing in a TV commercial thanks to her title as a beauty pageant winner.
Still, the 15-year-old beauty queen denied such allegations.
“What money did my mom took? We didn’t get a cent from them,” she said.
Cho argued that “It is necessary to threaten people, if they do not behave even after education,” noting that she did not live up to the organization’s expectations and irritated him by demanding schedules in advance.
“She argued that our organization had no specific plan for the three months and demanded that she live with her mother for the period,” he said.
May Myat Noe arrived in Korea on Aug. 19 with her mother upon Miss Asia Pacific World ‘s invitation for training.
Regarding her mother’s alleged “illegal attempt to get a three-month visa,” Choi replied that he rejected her demand to stay with her mother because she was unwilling to pay extra expenses incurred due to her mother’s extended stay.
The organizer says the Myanmar beauty queen was invited to stay in Korea for three months to prepare for her singing debut and was asked to share an apartment with former contestants, such as Diana Starkova, who became the winner of Miss Asia Pacific World 2011.
Starkova won the title in 2011 after the organizer dethroned Jung Eun-a of Korea, who had to step down one day after her coronation, and Florima Treiber of France who was also dethroned later for allegedly challenging the authorities of the organization.
In an interesting twist, Amy Willerton, who fled the competition in 2011 with representatives from Guyana and Costa Rica, for allegedly being offered votes in exchange for sex, won the Miss Universe Great Britain 2013.
Choi acknowledged that many mishaps, such as mistakenly announcing Jung as the winner, happened in 2011, but he claimed that all the accusations against his organization have been found to be groundless.
He went on to say that Starkova also received breast implants from the same doctor who operated on May Myat Noe.
“This is a big thing for all contestants because it is free and Korea is the world’s top destination for plastic surgery. Everyone wants it,” he said. “What is true is that she is lying and it is unprecedented.”
He went on to say that his organization and the Korean Association in Myanmar filed a police report in the Southeast Asian country for the stolen crown and sash upon BBC’s advice.
“BBC gave us the advice,” he said.
He had allegedly threatened to file a $3 billion lawsuit against the British broadcaster for falsely accusing his organization of being corrupt.
Choi underlined that his organization did not force May Myat Noe to undertake breast surgery and has not been involved in any major scandal over the past few years.
He also elaborated that his organization notified the termination of the Myanmar teenager’s contract on Aug. 26 and found that she disappeared with the tiara and sash next day.
On the price of the tiara, Choi claimed that the media is exaggerating the figures.
“A main designer and students worked on the tiara for six weeks. We didn’t say it is price tagged at $100,000,” he said, noting that one of his sponsors gave it for free and the actual cost would be much less than reported.
As for the breast implants, he also noted that the doctor, who is his acquaintance, generously provided it without charging any fees.
The media bombarded the Myanmar teenager girl on the weekend for allegedly running off with a $100,000 tiara after being stripped of her title as Miss Asia Pacific World 2014.
The Associated Press and many other news outlets, including the Guardian, claimed that Myanmar’s first international beauty queen lost her title because of being rude and dishonest even though “sponsors picked up the $10,000 tab” for her breast enlargement operation.
May Myat Noe said in her facebook page that she will hold a press conference at the House of Memories in Yangon on Sept. 2.
Myanmar started sending contestants to international beauty competitions for the first time in decades in 2012.