THE MISS UNCENSORED News Thailand panel said yesterday that it would not rescind the prizes given to winner Kanita "Mint" Pasang over allegations of faking her educational background.
The panel also denied imposing an education limitation on contestants.
The 17-year-old beauty queen had previously tearfully apologised for faking her educational background in her application, after rumours that she might lose her title, crown and Bt30,000 prize money.
These rumours led to the panel being slammed, with many people rooting for Kanita on social media and lauding her for being a “grateful beauty queen from a garbage-collecting background”.
Kanita was also present at the press conference yesterday, where she apologised again for the “educational-background mistake”. She also thanked the committee for not withdrawing her prizes, saying the money would be spent on her brother’s education. She also said she would continue helping her 47-year-old mum Orathai Pormaun collect garbage for a living.
Somchai “Daisy” Leknoi, director of Miss Uncensored News Thailand 2015, told the press that the contest, held for the first time at the Imperial World Samrong, aimed to provide opportunities to people from all social classes, hence there were no limits on gender or education.
“After many universities offered her scholarships, we learned that she has only completed primary school or Mathayom 3, rather than senior high school or Mathayom 6, as listed in her application. Therefore, we think she should apologise for her mistake,” Somchai said.
However, he said, nobody would take away her prizes. “We just want all candidates to tell the truth, so they do not face any problems in the future,” he advised.
Previously, Kanita lived with five other family members in a 4-by-5-metre shack, where Orathai also stored garbage for separation before sale. She then moved to live with an aunt because of crowded conditions at home.
Orathai said Kanita had to leave school when she was 14 because the family ran out of money, and later began collecting garbage and selling used clothes to help cover household expenses and her brother’s education.
Kanita was then adopted by a salon owner called “Know”, who sent her to school until she completed Mathayom 3. Know claims that a member of the committee called to say the prize money would be taken back because of false information on education background in the application.