Business as usual for hawkers and patrons

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 January, 2010, 12:00am

It was business as usual on Temple Street yesterday, with tourists and locals flocking to the popular spot despite Saturday night's acid attack.

Jackie Hobbs and Neil Albert, who come from London, said they read about the incident in the news and realised they had had a lucky escape.

'We were supposed to come here on Saturday but we got delayed,' Albert said yesterday. 'We ended up chatting to people in a pub and we could not find the restaurant [we were looking for].'

The duo said that after reading the news they had hesitated about going to Temple Street, but they did not want to miss the famous tourist spot on their first time in the city. Jenny Farlow, who arrived on Thursday from Australia, was not worried at all. 'I do not think it would happen again so soon ...You've got to be pretty unlucky,' she said.

Shops and eateries on Temple Street were doing business as usual yesterday. Only one restaurant on the ground floor of a building at the Junction of Nanking and Temple streets, from which the acid was suspected to have been thrown, was closed.

Temple Spicy Crab, a restaurant near where the 30 people were injured on Saturday night, was packed with tourists and locals. A waiter said at 6pm that no tables would be put on the street, but an hour later half the street was filled with the restaurant's tables and hungry customers.

The acid attack has attracted worldwide attention, rating mentions in foreign media, including BBC News, The Washington Post, Radio Australia and Myanmar News.

The tourism trade said the reports might slightly affect the city's image but tourists would continue coming. 'The attack has affected the image of Hong Kong as a safe city ... although I don't think tourists will refrain from visiting because of it,' the chief executive of the Concern Group of Travel Industry in Hong Kong, Tim Lee Kam-tim, said.

The city was still comparatively safer than many places in the world, he said.

'All tourists want to travel in a safe place,' Michael Wu Siu-ieng, the chairman of the Hong Kong Travel Industry Council, said. 'This is not the first time, so it's inevitable that visitors would be more mindful and [the incidents] have some psychological impact on them.'

The Tourism Board said it contacted most victims of the latest attack and no one said they needed assistance.