Ngo Quynh Mai, 21, has been fined US$1,000 for entering a contest abroad without permission. File photo
Cultural authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday said they have imposed a fine of VND22.5 million (US$1,000) against an up-and-coming model for competing in this year's cycle of "Asia's Next Top Model" in Singapore without permission.
Earlier they also banned Ngo Quynh Mai, 21, from a fashion show on April 24, just hours before it began. It is not immediately clear how long that ban will last.
Officials said she did not report to the culture department after being asked to three times. She was eliminated in March in the show's third episode.
According to Vietnam's official rules, those who want to compete in beauty competitions abroad must have at least one national title and must secure permission from the Ministry of Culture and Information.
Mai told local media that she did not know that the rule also applies to a non-professional model, which she claimed was her status when she entered the reality TV show earlier this year.
"I accept the fine, but that is a lot of money for a new model like me," Mai said, adding that it is equal to around four months of her income.
Mai, a former dancer, had earlier competed at several contests in Vietnam, including Miss Universe Vietnam 2015 and also the Vietnamese version of "So You Think You Can Dance." She did not win any titles.
More than a dozen of models and beauties have been fined over the past two years for competing overseas without approval, local media reported.
It is believed that many have deliberately broken the rule in hopes of winning an international title to give themselves a career boost in Vietnam.