The new Miss Hong Kong and the runners-up in Sunday's contest have urged web users to lay off pageant organiser TVB, and dismissed calls for a rerun after the broadcaster's attempt to choose the beauty queen by an online poll descended into farce.
TVB has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to investigate the failure of the online polling system. PwC was the independent observer for the scoring of the contest and results announcement.
Carat Cheung Ming-nga, chosen as the winner by a panel of five judges after the online voting collapsed, has been a target for abuse since her victory. "TVB must have rigged the results," one web user wrote on TVB's site. Others said they would have voted for Tracy Chu Chin-suet, the second runner-up.
Cheung said the criticism was unfair on everyone who worked hard on the show.
"TVB implemented a lot of new elements to the show and it was really good," she said. "But instead of focusing on our performance, people only focused on the voting system failure."
Chu said Cheung was a worthy winner, adding: "I am happy with all the support given from people I know and don't know."
Jacqueline Wong Sum-wing, the first runner-up, said the result was fair and the panel, including music and film superstar Andy Lau Tak-wah, were in a better position to judge the girls, having met them on previous occasions. "I don't mind doing the whole show again, though. It was really fun," she joked.
TVB faced online scorn after the voting collapsed, a problem it blamed on hackers rather than higher-than-expected participation. It hopes to take a step towards placating viewers tomorrow when it gives away two Mini Cooper cars in a lucky draw.