D&G store the target of fresh protests over photo ban

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 January, 2012, 12:00am

Outraged internet users targeted Dolce & Gabbana's flagship Tsim Sha Tsui store again last night, and are planning another protest tomorrow unless the Italian fashion giant apologises for banning Hongkongers from taking photographs there.

A handful of protesters took photographs outside the store in Canton Road last night after responding to calls on social networking website Facebook.

More people are expected to attend tomorrow's protest, exactly a week after 1,000 people besieged the store in another protest organised online.

A protester left a can of dog food outside the store, while another showed an iPad with the slogan 'Dog & Garbage' on it. 'We just want them to apologise,' said Chu Po-fang, an 18-year-old student. 'If they do not respond, we will protest again.'

Chu, who had joined Sunday's protest, said the protesters did not want to ruin the store's business.

'We are not breaking the law. We have the right [to take pictures in public spaces] and Dolce & Gabbana has infringed Hongkongers' freedom,' said Jose Leung, 21, who works for an interior design firm.

About 10 police officers were present outside the store last night, putting up fences to prevent protesters from blocking the street.

The protests began last week amid reports that a security guard at the store - part of the Harbour City shopping complex - had told Hongkongers that only foreigners and mainlanders were allowed to take photographs there.

Harbour City issued an apology blaming the incidents on poor communication, saying that the guards were acting on the tenant's requests.

However, a video widely circulated online of a security guard outside the Dolce & Gabbana store ordering reporters not to take photographs has further stoked the controversy.

'Don't take the photograph. For the last time, I will break this camera!' the guard was heard to have said as he tried to cover the camera lens with his hand.

A woman who claimed to be a staff member at the store was forced to apologise after describing the protesters as 'mentally retarded' in a post on her Facebook page.

On Wednesday, the Equal Opportunities Commission said it had sent a letter to Dolce & Gabbana's Hong Kong office demanding an explanation.

The firm was unavailable for comment last night. It had denied discriminating against Hongkongers and said it was not responsible for reported 'controversial statements'.

We just want them [Dolce & Gabbana] to apologise.