Transformers crew member tells court suspected triad member made her feel 'uneasy'
Member of Transformers film crew tells court man accused of conspiracy to blackmail implied on set that they should pay money
A crew member at the shooting of the latest Transformer blockbuster felt compelled to pay money after being approached by a suspected triad member, the District Court heard yesterday.
Tong Hoi-ka, from October Pictures, said she felt uneasy as Tse Chung-ping threw questions at her on the rooftop of I-Feng Mansion in To Kwa Wan, where part of Transformers: Age of Extinction was being filmed.
The court heard Tse - who has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to commit blackmail, and loitering with intent to commit an arrestable offence - showed up at the filming location with a group of men on October 22.
Tong, who was in charge of the set's decoration, was having lunch in the area at the time but returned to the set after receiving a call from a colleague who said a situation had arisen.
When she arrived back at the set Tse demanded to speak to the person in charge on the set, she said.
"I walked up to him and said: 'What can I do for you? I'm the person in charge'," Tong told District Court judge Alex Lee Wan-tang.
"Then he said: 'Did you guys notify us before shooting here?," she added.
Tong said she asked Tse where he was from and he replied: "I'm not a resident of the building, but I make a living around this area."
Tong said Tse then returned to the group, and after whispering to the men, yelled back that they would stroll around the rooftop.
One man in the group suggested that they should push some potted plants off the rooftop down to the streets, Tong told the court. The men left the rooftop shortly afterwards without causing damage, she said.
When asked why she thought the group might be triad members, Tong told the court she got the idea from a security guard working at the building.
She said that on her way back to the set from lunch, a guard told her over the phone that some people, described as potential gang members, were there "making a scene".
Tong also said some phrases used by Tse hinted that he had a "background" - which Judge Lee later clarified meant a triad background.
Some of the words used by Tse also implied that the crew should pay him, she said.
Another man, Choi Kin-shun - who was arrested after Tse's phone records were investigated by police - also pleaded not guilty to the two same charges. No evidence was given yesterday relating to Choi's charge.
The case is set to continue today.
Partly set in Hong Kong, Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth instalment in the franchise, premiered in the city on June 26. The movie raked in 600 million yuan (HK$750 million) on its opening weekend on the mainland. It took in 188 million yuan in ticket sales on its first day of release.