If dodging flag sellers seems to be getting harder, it is because there are more sellers than ever. Figures show the number of charities selling flags has doubled in five years. This year, the Social Welfare Department issued permits to 125 charities to sell flags on flag days. This is nearly double the 66 permits given out in 2002. Between them, charities last year raised HK$99 million on flag days alone - 25 per cent more than in 2001. But John Peralta, managing director and chief strategy adviser at consultancy Global Philanthropy, said the perception that flag sellers were more annoying may not be due to increased numbers. It was more likely they were becoming more aggressive, he said. Some charities could also be providing incentives for volunteers to raise more money by selling more flags. 'I personally get fed up with it,' Mr Peralta said, adding that it was important for charities to offer training to flag sellers so as to not agitate the public. A government spokeswoman said it offered more flag-selling opportunities in response to a threefold increase in demand from charities in the past 10 years. This year, 217 organisations applied, but only 125 were given permits.