Bank giant wants to flush away banknote rolls A group of young entrepreneurs saw their $80,000 investment in one of this year's hottest-selling items at the Victoria Park Lunar New Year fair flushed away when HSBC 'advised' them yesterday to stop selling rolls of 'banknote' toilet paper. The cheeky product - selling at $38 a roll - had buyers queuing for it since the market opened on Monday. The paper is printed with an $800 'note' on each sheet, featuring a dog in place of the bank's iconic lion to mark the Year of the Dog. And instead of 'HSBC', the sheets carry the letters 'HPNY', standing for Happy New Year. But the novelty item failed to amuse the city's largest note-issuing bank. Yesterday, it served the stall's operators a notice 'advising' them to stop selling the rolls. Leo Chan, who designed the toilet paper, said he and his partners would comply with HSBC's request but were left with thousands of unsold rolls and were about $60,000 out of pocket. He said about 10 per cent of their stock had been sold. 'We have stopped selling it. The bank is rich and powerful - we can't take them on,' he said. 'More people have been asking about the paper today but we had to tell them we don't sell it any more.' Mr Chan said the notice was an advisory and did not threaten legal action. 'But we take the hint.' He said the stall's partners had recently left school and, while searching for stable jobs, had come up with the idea for the quirky item. They pooled their savings, amounting to more than $100,000 to launch the venture. Their stall would now just offer dolls with a new year theme but Mr Chan said these items were nowhere near as popular as the toilet rolls had been. HSBC yesterday admitted that no one would mistake the toilet paper for real money. 'There is no possibility of that,' a spokesman said. 'It's just a straightforward infringement of our copyright. We are obliged to protect the integrity of our banknotes.' The police Commercial Crime Bureau received a complaint about the rolls, but a spokesman would not say who filed the complaint. Investigators said there was no criminal element to this case. The Monetary Authority said Hong Kong's laws prohibited anyone from making copies of banknotes, but the toilet rolls did not appear to be an instance of that.