A QUESTION mark hangs over whether recently crowned Miss Singapore World, Miss Ris Low, will be able to represent the nation in the Miss World 2009 pageant.
The international pageant will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December but it is not clear if Miss Low will be allowed to leave the country as she is on probation after being convicted of credit-card fraud.
In April and May last year, she spent more than $2,400 on at least four separate occasions, using at least three illegally obtained credit cards, at times impersonating the identity of their owners.
She was sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation in May this year.
It is unclear how she obtained the credit cards.
my paper understands that the 19-year-old student is seeking permission from the court to travel to South Africa for the pageant.
When contacted, Miss Low said that she was not in a position to comment.
Multiple e-mail messages and phone calls to the organiser of the Miss Singapore World pageant, ERM World, went unanswered.
Generally, offenders put on probation are required to apply to the courts for permission to leave the country, said lawyers interviewed by my paper.
This is because they usually have to observe curfews, and are required to report regularly to their supervising officers.
It is usually "quite rare" for probationers to be granted court permission to leave the country, said criminal lawyer Amolat Singh.
Whether permission is given would depend on their reasons for going overseas, Mr Singh said.
"Probation is a second chance at life, compared to being sentenced to a prison term. Permission may be granted for exigencies, such as family emergencies," he said.
It would also depend on the terms of probation and how well the offender has behaved, said lawyer Mark Goh.
Mr Singh added that probationers given permission to leave the country have to be placed under proper supervision while overseas.
Picked from 22 contestants, Miss Low was crowned Miss Singapore World in July.
She recently came under fire for her poor standard of spoken English, by netizens who had watched a video of her interview with Internet-TV news site RazorTV. This had been posted on the website prior to her win.
Videos spoofing phrases she said, such as "leopard preens" (leopard prints), "bigini" (bikini) and "boomz", have emerged online, along with heated debates over Singapore's education system and the use of Singlish by youth here.
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