Thrill-seekers embrace latest craze of planking
Innocent passers-by might call it sleeping on the job but Hong Kong has just woken up to the worldwide internet craze of planking, where exponents are dedicated to the art of posting pictures of themselves lying face down.
Online communities have sprung up for those who want to share their antics, although it is in Australia that the pursuit has really taken hold. A Facebook page, Planking Australia, has more than 10,000 supporters and hundreds of photos of people lying on desks, train tracks, escalators, fire hydrants and motorcycles.
The are even websites such as plankinglol.com, which features what it calls some of 'the top planks of all time', including one of a man whose forehead, chest and toes are the only parts of his body resting on a support.
Last week, a player scoring a try for the Super 15 rugby side Western Force planked before thousands of fans to celebrate, catapulting planking on to an international stage. The plankinglol site also posts a picture of a prone player behind the try line in last week's State of Origin rugby league game in what it says is a plank.
Not to be outdone, Hong Kong now has its own Facebook planking page 'dedicated to the fine art of planking' and they're wasting no time getting into the trend, judging by the photographs posted by plankers.
Among the most spectacular Hong Kong planks is the group sky100 Plank, who do a plank on seats at sky100, on the 100th floor of the International Commerce Centre, the city's highest (and the world's fourth highest) building. There is also a planker on the bar in Insomnia in Lang Kwai Fong, and a guy planking on the floor in an aisle at an Ikea furniture shop. A girl can be seen in Ikea's children's bedroom section planking on a small chair; another person is pictured planking on a stool in the Queen Victoria bar in Wan Chai; and two girls are seen planking on a table in a Haagen-Dazs shop.
'Let's get some planking done today,' the Planking Hong Kong homepage tells its members. 'It's hard to plank outdoors this weekend due to the rain - I was hunting for a good spot before the rain poured down,' one member says.
'Have a great weekend. Let's get in some good planks and be sure to keep it safe,' another member says.
An Australian who lives in the Mid-Levels and who works in the city's banking industry can't get enough of the craze, but he preferred not to be named as he wanted to continue banking and planking.
'Back in Australia everyone is doing it. The Western Force's Sam Wykes celebrated a try in the Super 15s last weekend against the [ACT] Brumbies by planking on the ground after he touched the ball down. Everyone's at it back home and it's caught on here,' he said.
Hong Kong police said that, in general, such an activity did not involve criminal behaviour so it would be looked upon leniently.
'As for whether it would contravene other legislation, it would depend on the actual situation of an individual incident or case,' a police spokesman said.
The term planking was coined in Australia. It was also known as 'playing dead' in South Korea in 2003, 'on one's belly' in France, and 'extreme lying down' in Australia in 2008.