The Miss Asia Pacific World pageant wants its $100,000 tiara back and said today that it is gathering evidence that its dethroned queen lied about her age, her name and whether she got plastic surgery.
The woman who has lost the title, May Myat Noe, has returned to her home country of Myanmar and taken the crown with her. She claimed Tuesday that she was dismissed because the organizers pressured her into getting plastic surgery “from head-to-toe., and denied the pageant's claim that she had gotten a breast implant last month.
She said she did not intend to steal the crown, but wasn't going to give it back without an apology to her and to Myanmar for being called a thief.
"I'm not even proud of this crown," Noe said after opening a blue box and placing the glittering tiara on the table in front of her. "I don't want a crown from an organization with such a bad reputation."
The pageant responded today.
“We were going to wrap this up quietly to respect her reputation,” said Weon-Young Jung, founder and chairman of the beauty pageant. “But this is getting way overboard. She’s lying over and over again.”
The pageant organizers based in Busan, South Korea, said they are gathering proof that she did undergo breast implant surgery at a plastic surgery clinic in Busan, including operation agreement papers signed by Noe and her mother and video clips of her stay at the hospital for eight days.
“They got a VIP treatment and were happy with the surgery results,” said Jung. But the two sides got into a row after Noe demanded the organization pay for her mother to stay in South Korea for three months, which was not agreed in the contract.
The pageant warned Noe that she would be stripped of her title “because she was dishonest and unappreciative.” The next day, Noe and her mother disappeared from the hospital bed, Jung said.
"It was the day before she was supposed to remove her stitches and be discharged. They ran off with the tiara, but leaving some of their belongings behind. It seemed like they were in a hurry to run,” said Jung.
Plastic surgery was included as one of the prizes for winning the title. “We offered total head-to-toe beauty care, not head-to-toe surgery as she claims. It was skin care, massage, nail, and spa treatment. Breast implant was her choice. She’s already beautiful. Why would she even need a total makeover?” Jung said.
The organizers said that after Noe had gotten her visa, they realized that her name and age registered at the pageant was different from her passport.
Her registration form listed her as May Myat Noe, 18 years old. The name on the copy of her passport that she allegedly submitted was That Htet Aung, 16 years old, the pageant said. They ended up amending the pageant legal policy of eligibility from 18 to 16, realizing “it was too late to send her back after investing time and efforts to give her a chance to enter the competition.”
May claimed at her Tuesday news conference that she was forced to lie about her age.
The Miss Asia Pacific World pageant was founded in 2011 to boost influence of the Korean Wave, referring to the increase of the popularity of Korean culture especially in Asia driven by TV dramas and pop music. The pageant aims to discover future international talents with winners promised to be nurtured and trained to be entertainers.
Myanmar, which only recently emerged from a half century of military rule and self-imposed isolation, started sending contestants to international pageants again in 2012.
ABC News’ Inyeong Kim and AP contributed to this report