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City Weekend

You are really not alone … Why 10,000 Hongkongers are watching the skies for UFOs

Local UFO club has thousands of members, indicating the niche subject may be going mainstream

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 August, 2016, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 August, 2016, 4:01pm

“The truth is out there” – the phrase made popular by Hollywood science-fiction television series, The X-Files, may have become clichéd, but for the Hong Kong UFO Club, it is their credo.

With more than 10,000 club members, the group says it conducts serious research and study into unidentified flying objects (UFOs), as well as related topics including alien contact, abductions, prophecies, exobiology, ­secret black projects, free energy, underground cities, and verifying sightings of UFOs.

While some have dismissed the work of the club as crazy, weird or pseudo-science, serious academic work is being conducted on the subject, and the UFO club wants to bring that knowledge to mainstream Hong Kong.

The club was founded in 1996, almost by accident, by Moon Fong Chung-moon. After travelling the world with another ufologist, and having her own UFO experience while standing on the Pyramid of the Moon in ­Teotihuacán, Mexico, she returned to Hong Kong.

Fong had attended a talk given by US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and UFO researcher, Wendelle Stevens, at Hong Kong Stadium’s Sports House (now Olympic House). Stevens told the media in attendance after the event that they should talk to Fong, claiming she wanted to start a UFO club in Hong Kong.

Fong says Stevens misinterpreted a discussion they had earlier, where she merely wanted to meet him to talk, not to start a club. But after being peppered with questions by the media, she declared: “It’s being organised.” One year later, the club was set up with its first four members.

The existence of alien life is undisputed in the eyes of its members, including the belief that aliens have visited the Earth.

“The Pleiades (an alien species) want to help earth evolve into a better place for its inhabitants,” club member Michael Kong Tao, says.

The club offers courses on UFOs, paranormal activities, unexplained events, strange phenomena and related subjects throughout the year.

In 2011, the club organised the Hong Kong International UFO Congress, the first of its kind in Asia. Experts and researchers from all around the world were flown in to give speeches on their work. The congress’ biggest audience was in 2012, with 1,300 attendees.

Based on that success, the club released a subscription-only print magazine called The Cosmic Times, featuring exclusive and “verified” content in Chinese.

Kong, an energy financier by trade, has been a member of the club for four years. He is now the editor-in-chief of the bi-monthly magazine.

Kong says he has had two first-hand encounters with strange phenomena – the first in the summer of 1992 in Queens, New York when he was 17, where he claims he saw a “huge object zoom across the sky”, and disappear before he could point it out to an accompanying friend.

His most recent encounter was in June 2013, Xinjiang, while with a group of bankers and investors on a site check for a potential energy investment. On the shuttle bus in the evening with the sun setting in the west, he looked out the window to the east and saw “another sun”. A closer look confirmed a metallic orb hovering in the sky, according to Kong.

Hong Kong is not a source of many UFO sightings, says Fong, but when they occur they are usually over the ocean or just off Lantau. According to figures released by the Hong Kong Observatory, there have been 182 UFO sightings between 2009 and 2013.

Club founder Fong does not dismiss the idea that some UFO sightings may have been aircraft or drones, adding that “half of UFO sightings nowadays are drones.” Kong says that verification of sightings is challenging, and even with the advancement of photographic technology today, and the availability to record and capture images with ubiquitous smart devices, most images of apparent alien craft are still unclear.

“One of the main problems is [lack of] image stabilisation. Most [mobile] phones don’t have that function. So when you zoom in, any slight movement will make the whole image very blurry,” Kong explains.

UFOs, aliens, robots ... ancient Chinese sci-fi novels were as fantastical as modern tales

While technology has yet to provide incontrovertible proof of the existence of alien life, the rise of the internet and social media has made ufology and related interests more mainstream, according to Fong and Kong.

Before that, mainstream media dared not cover such subjects, with some even accusing the club of being a cult. Today, institutions such as the University of Washington, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Edinburgh offer courses in astrobiology – the study of life on earth and in space.

But Fong believes there is a difference in terms of how the East and West perceive UFO sightings and alien life.

“Here in Hong Kong, [the ideas] are not being so ridiculed,” she says, adding that in America where she has lived, people have been “government brainwashed” into not believing such things. She says: “Here [opinions] are more diverse.”

When asked why they are able to see UFOs while most people go through their entire lives without seeing any, Kong says the best explanation is by Polish UFO researcher, Robert Bernatowicz: “You don’t get to pick seeing a UFO, if they want you to see them, you will see them.”

TOP FIVE HONG KONG UFO SIGHTINGS

1. November 1999, Sai Kung, UFO sighting confirmed by club

2. 1970s, Wah Fu Estate, UFO mothership, unconfirmed

3. July 1997, Ap Lei Chau, floating orb, confirmed

4. 1950s, near Kai Tak Airport, UFO, unconfirmed

5. June 2016, Tsing Yi, UFO, unconfirmed

Source: Hong Kong UFO Club