Judge deems sexy car licence plate inoffensive

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 May, 2007, 12:00am

It's official: Hongkongers are grown up enough to talk about sex.

A judge ruled yesterday that residents are not so prudish as to be offended by a vague sexual reference on a car licence plate.

Madam Justice Carlye Chu Fun-ling said the Commissioner for Transport had been unreasonable in refusing registration of a licence plate bearing the name of a sex enhancer.

The commissioner had told the court: 'The Hong Kong community is generally conservative about sex, in particular sexual intercourse.'

But the judge found otherwise.

The commissioner had failed to demonstrate a 'cogent and objective' rationale for concluding a licence plate bearing the word 'Zestra' would offend the sensibilities of Hong Kong people, the judge said.

Zestra is the brand name of a 'feminine arousal oil' that is sold widely in Hong Kong.

'The fact that the population is predominantly Chinese does not automatically lead to the conclusion that the general public is likely to be upset by an open reference to sexual intercourse,' Madam Justice Chu said. 'After all, Hong Kong is a mature and pluralistic community.'

Zestra Asia, the oil's Asia distributor, had sought a judicial review of the decision, arguing it was unreasonable because to conclude the name of a sex-related product would offend a reasonable person was irrational.

The judge overturned the commissioner's decision and ordered it to reconsider the application.