I have a belt ... I have a buckle: Hong Kong police ridiculed online for viral video spoof

Officers mimic viral Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen song in bid to get drivers to buckle up

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 September, 2016, 10:28pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 September, 2016, 12:01pm

An official Hong Kong police video in which serving officers perform a musical routine based on a Japanese internet sensation has been buried under a deluge of social media ridicule after being viewed more than a million times in less than 24 hours.

Over the same period, the 33-second video – which aims to ­encourage the wearing of seat belts and was posted on the force’s official Facebook page on Wednesday – had been shared 8,600 times, received 7,500 likes and been commented on by more than 4,400 people.

“From our experiences and observations, timely posts relating to a trendy topic and soft stories are more popular and more likely to attract higher reach on social media platforms,” the force said in statement to the South China Morning Post.

By Thursday night at least one spoof version of the video – which mimics the viral internet hit Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen – was on YouTube.

One senior officer, who ­declined to be identified, said: “It’s an embarrassment, the force looks more like a farce with this video. What were they thinking?”

The clip opens with two t-shirt clad officers – one male and one female – dancing and singing as they mimic the action of putting on a seat belt while singing the words “I have a seat belt, I have a buckle” repeatedly.

It then switches to two male officers – in uniform – sitting in what appears to be a police van doing the same routine

The force’s Facebook page was flooded with thousands of comments, the majority of which were negative and ridiculing.

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One post on the force’s Facebook page by Edith Hung said: “I can only see whoever gives permission to implement such brilliant idea intentionally humiliates all the police, trying to make them feel shame.”

The unidentified senior officer said internal reaction and that of ex-officers on closed sites was even more stinging in its slating of the video: “You couldn’t print many of the comments by serving and former officers in a family newspaper,” the officer said.

Despite the reaction, the force seemed to stand behind the decision: “HKP Facebook will continue to utilise the advantages of multimedia including videos, images, texts and other innovative means to engage the community. The HKP Facebook post on 28 September was one of many different types and styles to illustrate our diversified natures of police work, and had attracted a large number of ‘Likes’ and positive comments,” the statement said.

Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen, a Japanese earworm-style music video performed by Piko-Taroa fictional singer-songwriter created by Japanese comedian Kosaka Daimaou – whose real name is Kazuhiko Kosaka.

His song has had more than 7 million views since it was posted on YouTube in August.

The police force launched its Facebook page almost exactly a year ago in a bid to improve its public image and foster better relations with the community, which had seen public perceptions of the force plummet in the wake of the city’s Occupy protests – but it quickly created a platform for critics.