'Arrogant' police slammed over lion dance

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 October, 2004, 12:00am

Six New Territories rural committees have taken their case to the Complaints Against Police Office after a senior officer tried to bar lion dancers at a National Day event in Yuen Long because of their suspected triad costumes.

Police banned the troupe because their black trousers breached a performance licence under which they had to wear light blue pants and yellow shirts. In the end the ban was lifted but dancers left without completing their performance on September 30, according to police.

Dancers and event organisers had agreed to the colour scheme because suspected triads had worn black costumes in the past, he said.

The dispute began when Daniel Lawley, Divisional Commander (Yuen Long), forbade the dancers from proceeding unless they changed costumes.

'Only two people wore black pants, and they weren't even black, they had colour designs,' said Wong Yiu-wing, chairman of Ping Shan Rural Committee.

Mr Wong said the colour stipulation was just 'a part of the process of getting the permit'.

'It's just this time that they've had this rule,' he said. 'Before, they only needed us to give participants' names but there had never been any requirements on our pants.'

In a letter to Commissioner of Police Lee Ming-kwai, the six committee chairmen accused Mr Lawley of treating the dancers as if they were triad members and of 'having an extremely bureaucratic attitude, lacking in flexibility and speaking in an arrogant tone'.

A police spokesman said Peter Else, District Commander (Yuen Long), exercised discretion and allowed the dancers to continue without changing their clothes.

'Despite this, however, the dancers decided to leave and not to go ahead with their performance,' he said. 'It was their choice.'

Mr Wong said Mr Else's approval only proved how poorly the police handled the matter.

'How come one comes along and says that we can't do it, and then the other says we can?' he said.