We would not presume to tell Disney how it should run theme parks. But someone should remind the folk at Hong Kong Disneyland that it is supposed to be fun. That seems to have been far from the case out at Penny's Bay. The latest rumblings of discontent and disillusionment come from the top, with a clean-out of marketing and sales executives at the vice-president and director level. As they cleared their desks, a team of five Americans from the revamped global marketing arm of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts moved in. A shake-up was to be expected sooner or later after the ticketing fiasco that saw people with valid tickets locked out over the Lunar New Year holiday. It may be a good omen for frontline staff who have aired their grievances in this newspaper. Clearly all is not well. Staff morale is the latest casualty of an uncommunicative, micro-managing style that has led to one public relations disaster after another. Apparently, the less the public knows the better. Hong Kong Disneyland should be reminded that the taxpayer is its majority stakeholder. The reminder should come from the government. It is worth recalling the recent experience of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation - a statutory body - after low morale spread to senior management ranks and sparked a public revolt against the chairman. The government orchestrated a crackdown that resulted in the resignation of the acting chief executive, the sacking of the general manager and warnings to 19 senior managers. No one is suggesting that Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen should crack the whip and show who is boss at the Magic Kingdom. But the Hong Kong taxpayers' investment in Disney's Asian flagship should not be forgotten. The government shouldered $23 billion, or 82 per cent of the $27.7 billion cost of developing the Penny's Bay site on Lantau Island and building the park. In return it took a 57 per cent stake and Disney the remainder. That is reason enough for the government to remind Disney that Hong Kong prides itself on its international reputation for economic freedom and transparency. This reputation was not built on the kind of management style adopted by Disney, exemplified by secrecy about attendance figures, or the corporate high-handedness that has given it a bad name in Hong Kong, such as telling police and health inspectors how to go about their work at a major public venue and effectively obstructing them. The latest complaints from staff members who deal with the public reveal a morale problem that cannot enhance the Disney experience for the paying public. The US entertainment giant has put its side of the arguments about working conditions. However, it should act on staff complaints about park visitors who, it is claimed, physically rough up staff dressed as Disney characters. The intent may be playful, but at the end of the day it is assault, and groping of private parts is indecent assault, Disney character or not. Explicit reminders about the boundaries of exuberance may be a good idea, especially for visitors from the mainland who seem to be the main target of complaints. If that message does not get through, perhaps Disney could shelve its dislike of a high police profile and allow officers to slap handcuffs on the worst offenders. Disney has not had a happy time translating its western theme-park concept into China. The characters needed no introduction, but Hong Kong Disneyland management is still to become familiar with its new market. The latest management shake-up shows a welcome resolve to come to grips with it. Along with the 29-year-old Ocean Park - about to have a $5.5 billion makeover - Disneyland is a centrepiece of Hong Kong's regional tourism strategy. With a rival theme park planned for Shanghai, there is a lot at stake, and better public and staff relations would help secure it.