Racy photo albums heat up book fair's first day
Vivienne Chow, Austin Chiu and Adrian Wan
Shocked parents called for books featuring 'pseudo-models' to be relegated to an adult corner at the annual book fair as the racy photograph albums became the fastest-selling items on the first day yesterday.
The books, which do not contain nudity but emphasise the models' breasts and loins, were rated Class I - neither indecent nor obscene.
Their success mirrored a trend at the fair where literary works fared less well than picture books. One publisher said celebrity books accounted for up to 80 per cent of sales.
Fair-goer Ms Yau, 40, who took her two daughters to the event, said: 'This is outrageous. I'm really shocked. Is this approved?' after looking at one of the best-selling pseudo-model books, Kissy Chrissie, featuring Chrissie Chau, 24. 'What's the difference from soft porn?'
Jerry Ho Wai-lan, a housewife in her 40s, said: 'Oh dear, they are close to porn. Organisers should put them in an adult corner.'
There were long queues at booths selling similar books of other models.
Chau's book, which had sold almost 10,000 copies by mid-afternoon, featured her in revealing bikinis and underwear that accentuated her breasts and private parts.
In one sequence, a bikini-clad Chau sits with her legs apart and in another she is shown brushing her teeth and dribbling the foam over her cleavage.
Chau did not comment on the criticism from parents but insisted that she really liked the photographs. 'I don't think I look like an AV girl,' she said, referring to Japan's notorious adult-video stars.
Books that people have to read are not doing as well. Sing Tao Publishing Group's publishing manager Barbara Tse said sales of celebrity publications accounted for up to 80 per cent of publishers' income this year.
Obscene Articles Tribunal adjudicator Mervyn Cheung Man-ping said that although the photographs in the models' books were Class I, the messages suggested by the racy photos were definitely not appropriate for young children.
'They are dirty and definitely bad taste,' Mr Cheung said. 'They arouse unhealthy sexual imagination.'
He said there should be a finer grading to cater for juveniles. But he also felt that the organiser of the show at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Trade Development Council, should be responsible and consider setting up an adult corner for such books.
The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority said only books classified as Class I could be sold and displayed in the Book Fair according to contracts signed between the council and exhibitors.
'Officers from Tela have not found any articles violating the contracts during their patrolling in the Book Fair and have not received any complaints,' a spokeswoman said.
The council said it had no grounds to remove the photo albums, since they did not violate the rules.
Author Benny Li Shun-yan said the photo albums were an unstoppable trend at the fair. 'It's just like the Lunar New Year market - they don't just sell flowers.'
The fair runs until Tuesday. Tickets are HK$25 for adults and HK$10 for children. It enters its second day today, opening from 10am to 10pm.