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The organisers of the Miss Asia Pacific World beauty pageant have hit back angrily at Miss Myanmar Mae Myat Noe following her press conference last week, accusing her of deceit and lies.
“She looks like an angel, but she is the devil,” said Miss Asia Pacific World media director David Kim, speaking to DVB on Saturday. “She is lying, lying, lying.”
Kim’s comments came as the pageant organisers launched their own media campaign, defending themselves against a litany of allegations by Mae Myat Noe, who was dethroned as Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 in August. She had won the crown in Seoul three months earlier, and was mobbed by fans on her return to Burma.
On 2 September, the young Burmese beauty queen held a press conference in Rangoon, where she said that the pageant organisers had changed her age from 16 to 18 for the competition; and that, after winning the title, they had coaxed her to have plastic surgery, which she refused. She also said she was coerced into escorting rich businessmen on dates while in Korea.
On Friday, the Miss Asia Pacific World organisers hit back, circulating a detailed press release that claimed to account for all of Mae Myat Noe’s expenses and time schedule. They rejected the claim that she had escorted anyone during the time they hosted her in South Korea, and also rejected accounts – reported in some media – that she had been asked to preform sexual favours for important clients.
The pageant hosts also circulated photographs which appear to show Mae Myat Noe recovering in hospital from a breast augmentation – an operation, Kim said, that she herself had requested.
With regard to the contestant’s age, the media director said that she had lied, saying she was 18, but that the pageant team had discovered one month before the competition that she was, in fact, only 16. Since the scandal broke, at least one news report has claimed that Mae Myat Noe was born in October 1998, which would make her only 15.
“Lying, lying, lying,” Kim said by telephone to DVB. “That’s all she did.
“She looks like an angel, but she is the devil,” he fumed, adding that her mother “controlled everything”.
Kim said that both governments have been notified of the organisers’ position as the scandal threatens to become an international incident.
“She [Mae Myat Noe] is destroying the relationship between Korea and Myanmar,” he said. “Many people in Korea are now very angry.”
Kim further alleged that Mae Myat Noe and her mother have damaged the Miss Asia Pacific World brand and reputation.
When asked if they would be seeking legal recourse, the pageant spokesman said that if Mae Myat Now were to apologise, “we may forgive her”.
At her press conference last week, the teenage beauty queen said she would not return the pageant’s tiara unless they in turn apologised to her.
DVB could not reach Mae Myat Noe and her mother for comment this weekend.
Meanwhile, Burma’s national director for Miss Asia Pacific World, Hla Nu Tun, has given a tearful interview with Myanmar Celebrity website in which she backed up the sponsors’ version of events, saying Mae Myat Noe had lied: about her age, about escorting men, and the breast operation, and said that the organisers had done everything to help her.
“The sponsors would not need to ask Mae Myat Noe to act in an improper way,” she sobbed. “I knew that she had many weaknesses and we tried to hide them. She is not that beautiful. There are many more beautiful girls than her.”
Hla Nu Tun said that the Miss Asia Pacific World directors in Korea had ordered her to give interviews supporting the organisers’ conduct. She said that she was reluctant because she did not want to her country to lose face.
“I would like to apologise to Mae Myat Noe in order to convince her to give back the tiara,” she said through tears. “I apologise not because I was wrong. I apologise for the sake of the country and I am asking her to give back the crown.”