Sex-themed books removed from shelves at Book Fair

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 July, 2008, 12:00am

Two sex-themed books were removed from the shelves at the Book Fair yesterday after the organiser, the Trade Development Council, raised concerns over whether the publisher had breached exhibition rules.

The books, one about gay couples with detailed sex scenes and another restricted to readers over 18, were removed after TDC staff visited the booth of Longma Culture Public Limited at 10am to inform the company that some of books might not be suitable for sale.

A TDC spokesman said it had a contractual agreement with the exhibitors that only Class I articles, not those rated Class II or III, could be sold at the fair.

Under the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, Class II articles are indecent and Class III are obscene.

The spokesman said the TDC had asked the exhibitor to remove publications that might be problematic. It was also consulting the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (Tela) on the classification of some of the books at the booth.

A booth representative, giving her name as Ms Wong, said they had removed the two titles.

'I haven't read [the book on homosexuals] so I don't know about it,' Ms Wong said. She said there were 30 copies but only two or three were sold, for HK$45, before the removal.

She said that after the TDC's visit, staff would check the ID of customers who looked underage.

Kobi Wong, 17, who bought a copy of the gay book, said she did not have to show her ID card.

Another controversial book, Sex in Hong Kong, attracted the attention of Tela, which said last night there was nothing in it violating the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance. The book, being sold at the booth of Sup Publishing Logistics for HK$98 with 20 per cent off, contains information on topics such as puberty, love-making, contraceptives, abortion and sterilisation, for both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

'It is not obscene,' Sup Publishing booth representative Ms Tsang said. 'We sell them to everyone, even those under 18.'

Four of the books were unsold in the afternoon. Ms Tsang would not say how many had been stocked, saying only that sales were 'pretty good'.

Four hundred readers from Guangzhou, mainly students, toured the book fair under a programme sponsored by the TDC.

Pang Wei, 15, a Primary Two pupil from Guangzhou, said it was a valuable chance to visit the book fair. 'I read one to two books every week.'

Her mother, Wu Li, said she had planned to spend a few thousand dollars on books for her daughter and herself. Despite the higher prices, she said there was more choice than in her home city.

About 130,000 people visited the fair on Monday, up 35 per cent from last year, the TDC said.