• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 1:37am
NewsHong Kong

Government issues warnings over Falun Gong 'banner war'

The authorities are finally moving to crack down on the unsightly, unauthorised banners put up by the Falun Gong and its opponents

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 April, 2013, 5:44am

The government has promised to step up enforcement against unauthorised banners in the city, in a move that is seen as a bid to bring an end to the bitter banner war between the Falun Gong spiritual movement and a pro-establishment group.

The Youth Care Association had in recent months begun putting up numerous anti-Falun Gong banners in places like Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui, often over the spiritual movement's banners promoting their beliefs.

More than a hundred banners can be seen at the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The government said yesterday that it would issue warnings to those who put up unauthorised banners.

The banners would be cleared and the cost of removal would be borne by the offenders. Criminal prosecution was also an option, the government said.

"Apart from posing risks to road users, there were occasions in the past when representatives of individual groups quarrelled and scuffled with each other in the public places over the display of banners, causing a great nuisance or inconvenience to pedestrians," a government spokesman said.

There were occasions in the past when representatives of individual groups quarrelled and scuffled with each other in the public places over the display of banners

At the Star Ferry Pier yesterday, about 15 officers from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department went about slapping warning letters on the unauthorised banners there.

A department spokesman said 107 letters were issued in all.

The letters warned that those who put up the banners were liable to a fine of up to HK$10,000 and a daily fine of HK$300, and demanded that the banners be removed.

Elaine Chum, a Falun Gong believer at a booth in Tsim Sha Tsui, said the spiritual movement had been promoting its creed in the area since 1999.

She accused the Communist Party of backing the association's actions and of spreading vicious messages across the city about her group.

"It is like they are promoting the Cultural Revolution in Hong Kong," she said.

Lam Kwok-on, the Youth Care Association's spokesman, said his group had put up so many banners in order to press the government into cracking down on those put up by the Falun Gong.

He was happy that the government was going to step up enforcement, he said.

Lam said the association would soon cease to be a limited company and that he had registered it as a non-profit society instead. The companies registry showed that the group had applied to be deregistered in December and it would take effect later this month. But he denied rumours that his group had plans to merge with another pro-establishment group.

Saleswoman Winnie Chan, 40, who often walked past the Star Ferry Pier, said she welcomed the government's move, but asked why it took so long.

"It is really a nuisance. The two groups often quarrelled and ended up calling the police."

German tourist Lenonora Haag, 50, said while she did not know what the banners meant, she agreed they were unsightly.

Tsim Sha Tsui West district councillor Derek Hung Chiu-wah said he had received countless complaints from residents over the banners.

"How can the government tolerate [so many of] these banners being put up [so blatantly] on the streets?" he said.


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This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
joe hk, please have your lousy English polished before uttering your naive views here in this much respectable English newspaper.Brush up your English----- a warm reminder only.
The government needs to have a time limit on removal which should be before Friday. Come Friday all banners should be removed by the government. Not just Falun Gong / Youth association but all illegal banners. There should be a 3-4 day territory wide cleanup of banners by the government. Then afterwards anyone found placing a banner will have an automatic fixed penalty fine.
To be honest saying 10,000 fine is never a good deterrent. As the number is fairly high it may be hard to collect and they will be more willing to fight the ticket. They should just use the 1,000 fixed penalty fine (like cigarettes) for each banner. A 1,000 fine means police will also be more willing to hand them out. Most police will shy away from handing out 10,000 fines and most likely would just turn a blind eye.
In the end though the government is responsible to remove the banners. It should just be a daily routine of street cleaners. retrieval of costs and fines should also be done to help recoup costs but if street cleaners have the authority to remove them each morning people will stop putting them up as they have little value to spread their message (illegally).
hard times !
yeah,now the government has finally done the right job----trying to rremove all the unauthorized banners (either from the Falunkung spiritual movement or pro-establishment organisations )displayed for a long time at Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, along Nathan Road in Mongkok and in Causeway Bay near Sogo Dept.store.As President Xi advised C.Y. that besides making changes while maintaining stability, he had to fulfill tasks in a concrete way----not just empty talks or consultations / discussions again and again Wishing that it is the first step of Leung administration to really accomplish something for Hong Kong and her people..
as far as I am concern, falun gong is a cult. the so claimed leader is in USA probably having a good life partying and frankly, just who and what is their purpose exactly.
Get it done and remove them.
Dai Muff
"As far as you are concerned" doesn't matter. The Falun Gong has religious freedom in Hong Kong. I might find Catholicism a cult. It doesn't mean I can stir up hatred against it as a religious group.
Aye, aye, excellent and practical suggestions.
Communist or not, people who think they have the right to pollute public areas with their propaganda should be prosecuted. The public has suffered long enough!!!
Since 1999, Chum? Under the British, you and your rubbish would have been booted out long, long ago......just that the SAR govt has been so lame.
Must be expensive keeping those banners up and about all this time.
Just wondering, who's footing the bill?


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