Disgraceful behaviour at cricket tournament

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2002, 12:00am

The Hong Kong Cricket Sixes tournament is supposed to be a superb family weekend, as star players from across the world gather in Hong Kong for two days of entertaining cricket.

Instead, the weekend was marred by the idiocy of a handful of fans and the incompetence of the Kowloon Cricket Club stewards. Quite how one fan waving the Pakistan flag and wearing an Osama bin Laden mask was allowed to approach a stand of British and Australian fans, some of them Hong Kong rugby players, a mere three weeks after the Bali bombing, without being stopped and the mask confiscated is bad enough.

The fact that he was cheered on and clapped by some stewards is unforgivable.

The mask wearer ended up being sprayed with beer and pelted with cans by a small number of angry British and Australian fans. Around 30 Pakistani fans responded by charging the stand, which contained women and children, showering everyone with glass bottles and full cans. Luckily, no one was seriously injured. Once again, the hapless officials did nothing to help.

The fact that spectators can be stopped from entering the ground carrying a single apple, as indeed one fan in front of me was, and yet others were allowed in with bin Laden masks or T-shirts is outrageous. And I know I am not alone in saying that I will never attend the Hong Kong Sixes tournament again.



I am an American citizen who has lived in Hong Kong for more than 15 years and have enjoyed the cricket and rugby sporting events that define a unique characteristic of Hong Kong.

The incident in the Cricket Sixes on Sunday, when a man put on a mask of Osama bin Laden and waved a large Pakistan flag was condemned by my friends from the Pakistan Association who I was sitting with throughout the two-day event.

The provocateur then ran over to the west stand where there was a large contingent of England supporters and made obscene gestures to the crowd. Water bottles and beer cans then began to fly back and forth and it looked as if a scuffle would break out.

It was an insensitive outrage because there were many of us at the matches who lost friends in Bali and New York.

Why was he waving a Pakistan flag, thus denigrating the symbol of a nation?

This was an isolated incident that did not reflect the true feelings of the Pakistani community in Hong Kong.