Updated at 5.48pm: About 7,000 restaurant owners and their staff took to the streets on Tuesday to protest against the controversial government proposal of turning Hong Kong into a smoke-free city making it one of the largest protests in the territory in recent years. A legislator representing the catering industry, Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, who was also one of the protest organisers, warned a complete ban on smoking in all public areas including restaurants, bars and karaoke lounges will be a serious blow to the catering and other service industries already facing hardship from the poor economy. Mr Cheung said it was the biggest protest so far organised by the catering industry in its history. But the Liberal legislator warned an even bigger one is to come if the government ignores their grievances and gives green light to the proposed new smoking restrictions. The last major protest in Hong Kong involved more than 10,000 government staff who marched in protest against civil service reform in July last year 2000. The angry anti-smoke ban protestors marched from the Chater Garden to the Central Government Office in Central carrying banners and chanting slogans accusing officials of ignoring their financial woes. They chanted : ''Senior officials fail to fulfil their duties, they only carry out bad policies. The government continues to receive tobacco tax, however, they give the catering industry hardships.''