Just like a Hollywood scene

HKTV protesters at government headquarters are camped out on moviemakers' next location

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 October, 2013, 11:43pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 October, 2013, 2:48am

After being allegedly targeted by blackmailers not once but twice, the unfortunate film crew shooting Hollywood's latest Transformers movie in Hong Kong faces a new dilemma: the HKTV protest.

The action was due to move to the government headquarters in Tamar tomorrow - only the ongoing Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) protest may not be over by then.

Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth in a series of alien robot movies, got approval to film at the Legislative Council building from 8am to 6pm tomorrow before the government made a decision on free-to-air TV licence applications that drew hundreds of people to set up a protest camp at Tamar.

The protesters had given the government until tomorrow to explain its decision to refuse HKTV's application.

HKTV staff union chairman Henry Yeung Chi-ho was unsure yesterday whether the movie starring Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz and directed by Michael Bay would face more disruptions.

He said: "The deadline we set for the government falls on Saturday. We need to go through meetings to decide our next move, but I am sure there won't be a big-scale demonstration outside the government offices on that day."

Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching said she had heard that the crew also wanted to film at Tamar on Sunday, when she is organising another HKTV rally there.

A government spokeswoman refused to confirm whether the filmmakers planned to shoot on Sunday as well. "We can only confirm that their application to film has been approved," she said.

The Paramount Pictures crew have been involved in two alleged blackmail incidents.

On Tuesday afternoon, the crew was checking the roof of a block of flats in To Kwa Wan Road, Kowloon, when, according to police, they were threatened and money was demanded from them.

Yesterday, a 35-year-old man was charged with one count of blackmail and police were hunting three other suspects, who were believed to be members of the Sun Yee On triad.

Meanwhile, two brothers earlier charged with trying to extort HK$100,000 from the crew at their Quarry Bay set were released on bail yesterday after almost a week in custody.

Setting bail at HK$40,000 each, Mr Justice Peter Line in the Court of First Instance said it was a "rather sensitive case".

Mak Chi-shing, 27, and Mak Chi-hang, 28, have each been charged with one count of blackmail and one count of assaulting a police officer.