The G.O.D. triad T-shirts have become collectors items since Thursday's raids. Although there was no trace of them in the stores yesterday, G.O.D. owner Douglas Young said staff had received many e-mails from customers wanting to get their hands on one.
Frequent visitors to G.O.D. said it was difficult to associate the design bearing the Chinese characters for '14K' with the triad gang.
Architect Travis Yip said the arrest of 18 people over the T-shirt was outrageous. 'The government is trying to control how people think,' he said. 'It gives me the feeling that room for creativity has narrowed.'
Student Eugina Lin Cheuk-yuen, 16, said she had seen the T-shirt in the store and found it amusing. 'The police are too sensitive. When I look at it, I don't feel the garment has anything to do with promoting the triad gang.'
But a Ms Au, in her fifties, said she understood the police action. 'They are just doing their job to maintain social order in accordance with the law. But on the other hand, triad gangs are part of Hong Kong culture. This is the tradition of G.O.D. - to incorporate local culture into their designs.'
Chan Wai-kwan, a senior director of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce who co-convened a study group for a policy paper called 'Hong Kong: A Creative Metropolis', said he 'almost fell off his chair' on hearing about the arrests. 'Unfortunately, we have just witnessed the kind of folly we dreaded,' he said. 'Things like that don't happen in a truly creative and tolerant society.
'Is 14K jewellery contraband? Are we going to ban the 14K restaurant of Washington from Hong Kong? Or arrest Yves St Laurent for selling Opium?'