Organiser plans to sue Miss Universe finalist

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 12:00am

The organiser of the China section of the Miss Universe contest is planning to sue the mainland contestant who came third in the pageant in Puerto Rico in May for breach of contract.

The chairman of the China organising committee for the Miss Universe contest, Shi Sizhi, said yesterday he was planning to sue model Zhuo Ling and her agent in Shanghai for 10 million yuan (HK$9.4 million).

Mr Shi, a private entrepreneur, said he was claiming 10 million yuan in compensation from Miss Zhuo, 19, to cover his losses as Miss Zhuo had failed to honour a contract to attend promotion activities hosted by the committee, as well as commercial activities organised by his company, Beijing Golden International Investment Consultant, for a year after the contest.

The controversy follows Miss Zhuo's arrival in Hong Kong last Sunday for a publicity function hosted by the Hong Kong Housing Authority. The Zhejiang model's success at the Miss Universe pageant, the first time a mainlander has entered, has gone almost unnoticed on the mainland but gained attention in Hong Kong.

Mr Shi claimed Miss Zhuo should have notified him about the function and that her agent, the Yifei Model Agency, had infringed on his rights by arranging jobs for Miss Zhuo.

He decided to file a lawsuit after Miss Zhuo refused to attend functions arranged by Mr Shi in Hong Kong this week.

But the manager of the agent company, Sophia Song Mei-ying, yesterday said the company had signed a model contract with Miss Zhuo in December 2000 and that it was legal for the company to arrange modelling jobs.

Ms Song claimed that Ms Zhuo had signed a contract with Mr Shi without consulting her.