A drama on commercial television channel TVB has been accused of contributing to the already frayed relations between Hongkongers and mainlanders by depicting the worst of locals.
Inbound Troubles, which began showing on TVB Jade on Monday, tells the story of young mainlander Choi Sum (played by comedian Wong Cho-lam) who comes to Hong Kong to live with his local tour guide cousin Ng Ka-yi (Roger Kwok Chun-on). But the cultural differences between the two men's lifestyles cause friction between them.
The Communications Authority said that as of Friday, it had received 70 complaints about the 20-episode series. The complaints blamed the show's misleading content for deepening the conflicts between Hong Kong and the mainland, it said.
The drama, which is based on a story idea by Wong, contains scenes alluding to real life, including mainlanders queuing up for designer handbags and infant milk formula as well as conflicts between local tour guides and their mainland tourists. Last year's case of locals allegedly being banned from taking pictures of the Dolce & Gabbana store in Tsim Sha Tsui was also featured. Kwok's character speaks heavily accented Putonghua in typical Hong Kong fashion, while his girlfriend (played by Angela Tong) appears to be based on Li Hau-chun, the "bus auntie" tour guide who in 2010 sparked headlines after her tirade against mainland clients for not shopping enough and thus not generating enough commission.
The authority said viewers were unhappy that the show made a mockery of Hongkongers, while mainlanders appeared more civil. Some even said the drama destroyed the city's image as a shopping haven.
TVB said it received six complaints about the series, which was watched by an average of more than 1.9 million viewers.
"The drama was never meant to cause conflicts," TVB's deputy controller of external affairs Tsang Sing-ming said. "It's about unity between Hong Kong and the mainland … the essence of the show is about how mainlanders can integrate themselves into Hong Kong society."