Most of the flash and glitter will vanish from Hong Kong's brightly lit commercial areas after midnight if a government task force's recommendations are accepted.
But it remained uncertain yesterday if a law would be passed to make this happen after the group - set up in 2011 to look at ways of saving energy and cutting light pollution - said a public consultation would be held in the face of opposition from the tourism and entertainment sectors.
In a paper submitted to the Legislative Council yesterday, the task force says decorative lighting and advertising signs should be switched off after 11pm or midnight, even during Christmas and the Lunar New Year festival.
This would include shop signs, advertising signs, video walls, decorative lighting for facades and display signs on top of hotels and commercial buildings, the group, comprising 19 members from green groups and industries, said.
But a public consultation will be conducted in two months on whether to make it compulsory and when exactly the lights should be switched off.
"I'm disappointed," task force member and Friends of the Earth general-affairs director Edwin Lau Che-feng said. "The discussion has been ongoing for two years but the task force still fails to come up with clear directions."
Lights should be turned off by 11pm, he said, with exemptions only for 24-hour shops, nightclubs and mahjong parlours.
Liberal Party leader James Tien Pei-chun said the party was open to the proposal: "We do think the lighting of retail shops is a bit overdone sometimes."