Vietnam beauty contest rigged by organizer

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Phan Minh Chanh (L) and the 2012 Mrs. Vietnam Continents winners

The organizer of a Vietnamese beauty contest for married women or single mothers has been accused of rigging and coaxing contestants into giving him money for better results. 

Phan Minh Chanh, a Vietnamese-American comedian, director of the US-based MC Entertainment, which held the Mrs Vietnam Continents 2012 competition, has been accused by an unnamed member of the jury board -- and several contestants -- of selling the event's main prizes.

"I still have the phone message in which Chanh confirmed that the winner had paid as much as US85,000 for the prize," the unnamed judge said.

On the finale night, the judges had asked Chanh to publicize the results as determined by the jury board, but he instead announced his own pre-arranged results, she said.

The judge added that Chanh even asked her to pay a price of $100,000 to be the winner of Mrs Vietnam Continents and for her daughter to be winner of Miss Vietnam Continents next year.

Phan Minh Chanh, however, said he will take any accuser to court.

As a beauty contest for Vietnamese women aged 18 to 45, who are married or single moms from everywhere in the world to join, Mrs. Vietnam Continents 2012, held in the US, saw the competition of 17 Vietnamese women from Vietnam and in the US on its finale night.

Screen capture of mobile SMS conversations allegedly related to fixing prizes at the Mrs Vietnam Continents 2012 beauty contest between Minh Chanh, the contest organizer, and an unnamed judge

It crowned Nguyen Thu Hoai, a business woman from Vietnam, as the winner.

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Diem, one of the event's contestants, said Chanh also suggested she buy the prize of first runner-up at the cost of $50,000 because the winner had already been "sold".

The contest started with 40 competitors in total, but more than half of them withdrew.

Organizers had said 17 women would compete at the finale, but only 14 made it, Diem said.

Hoai, 36, said those who failed to win were causing trouble and insisted that she did not pay any money for the prize and that it was given to her for her talents and practice.

Miss Continents 2011, which was also held by Phan Minh Chanh in the US, crowned Vietnam's controversial bikini model Ngoc Trinh.

Critics said Trinh was not fit for the winner position for her "low education background and social activities," and her "shallow" and outspoken and press interviews in Vietnam

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