A patriotic mission by Hong Kong people to tear down a controversial Japanese lighthouse on the Diaoyu Islands and plant the Chinese flag in its place is under way. Three ships set sail last night to converge on the islands and face almost certain interception by Japanese warships. The first group of 10 local and six Taiwanese protesters set out on two boats from the Taiwan port of Keelung and was due to reach the islets early this morning. Another boat, with 79 people on board, sailed out of Hong Kong and will reach the area by Wednesday morning. In a groundswell of patriotism among Chinese people all over the world, the shores of Victoria Harbour resounded to the chants of supporters, 15,000 marched through the streets of Taipei and protests continued in North America. Three pro-Taiwan Hong Kong legislators camped outside the United Nations in New York began a hunger strike. A pro-China political party has collected 11,000 signatures from 18 countries over the Internet and will pass them on to the Japanese Government through e-mail. China's Foreign Minister Qian Qichen is expected to raise the dispute with his Japanese counterpart Yukihiko Ikeda tomorrow when they meet at the UN General Assembly.