Apologies for Hollywood's alleged Hong Kong hustle

Hongkongers go online to say sorry as two brothers appear in court charged with blackmail

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 October, 2013, 3:44am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 October, 2013, 3:44am

Hongkongers have gone online to offer up apologies after filming of the fourth Transformers movie was disrupted by an alleged blackmail plot.

Dozens of people left comments on the blog post in which director Michael Bay spoke of Thursday's incident in Quarry Bay that led to the arrest of three men, two of whom appeared in court yesterday.

Ting So wrote: "I apologise on behalf of HK."

Chris Yam wrote: "I feel embarrassed hearing this insane extortion as a Hong Kong citizen."

Oliver Thompson wrote: "As a filmmaker in Hong Kong, I am sorry you had to deal with such idiotic behaviour."

Others assured Bay that Hong Kong was a safe place.

Not all of the posters felt the need to apologise on behalf of the arrested men, two of whom were shopkeepers who were said to have wanted compensation for disruption caused by the filming.

One online poster going by the name of Chiupolini said: "But why apology [sic] for Hong Kong people? I have not seen any American apologising to Hong Kong people who got robbed when visiting the United States."

Another questioned whether the shopkeepers had been given proper compensation.

Bay seemed unperturbed by Thursday's off-screen drama. When asked how filming was going, he made a thumbs-up gesture to the press and said "good", adding that everything was fine.

Hundreds gathered in Quarry Bay to watch as filming of Transformers: Age of Extinction continued yesterday.

In the morning, actress Abigail Klein was filmed fleeing from a car.

Around noon, Mark Wahlberg was glimpsed near the Fook Cheong Building on King's Road. His co-stars Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor arrived three hours later in a van with tinted windows.

Crowds were kept at bay by black-clad security guards, and two dozen men in orange T-shirts stood by to move props between scenes.

Brothers Mak Chi-shing, 27, and Mak Chi-hang, 28, appeared in Eastern Court yesterday charged with blackmail and assaulting a police officer.

The court heard that the pair, owners of Hang Fat Air Conditioner and Water Electrical Company, demanded HK$100,000 from stage manager Cheung Ngo-yeung.

The brothers were also accused of attacking two different police officers.

The men were remanded in custody until next month. Their bail conditions will be reviewed next week.

The third man arrested had been wanted over a separate wounding case and so far no charges over Thursday's incident have been laid against him.