Hong Kong gigs

Foreign bands entering Hong Kong for gig at Hidden Agenda detained at border, a week after bands arrested in raid on venue

Heavy metal acts Insomnium, from Finland, and Orpheus Omega, from Australia, detained for three hours after crossing into city from Shenzhen, but will not perform at Kwun Tong indie venue tonight after being allowed in

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 May, 2017, 2:51pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 October, 2017, 9:22pm

Two foreign heavy metal bands were detained at the border for three hours on Wednesday after crossing over from Shenzhen for a scheduled performance at troubled indie venue Hidden Agenda tonight.

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In a post on the venue’s Facebook page, Hidden Agenda said the Finnish metal band Insomnium and Australian act Orpheus Omega had been detained by immigration officials “for no reason”.

A spokeswoman for Hidden Agenda said the band members were released after three hours of questioning and allowed to enter Hong Kong, but added that tonight’s performance would not be going ahead.

It is understood that the bands did not have work visas and entered Hong Kong as tourists after signing an agreement that they would not be performing tonight.

A spokesman for the Immigration Department refused to comment on individual cases, but says all people entering the city are subject to examination and inquiries about the purpose of their visit and to determine if they meet entry requirements.

“This includes inquiries about whether they hold valid travel documents which match the purpose of their visit. We also consider whether the travellers have undesirable records from the past,” the spokesman says.

This comes just more than a week after British band This Town Needs Guns (TTNG) and American multi-instrumentalist Mylets were arrested at the Kwun Tong venue for performing without work visas. They are being investigated for breaching their conditions of stay and must report back to immigration officials on June 5.

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Insomnium and Orpheus Omega are on an Asia tour that has already taken in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Tonight’s show at Hidden Agenda was last week changed to a private event after the dramatic police raid during the TTNG/Mylets gig last Sunday.

That operation by immigration officials and police equipped with riot shields and dogs was the latest in a series of raids on the club, which is in an industrial building and has struggled with licensing issues. The previous raid came in March when police and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said Hidden Agenda was holding live music shows without a public entertainment licence.

The Lands Department has refused to grant Hidden Agenda a public entertainment licence, saying running a live music venue in an industrial building would be a breach of lease conditions. The venue has officially operated as a takeaway food stall since being granted a food factory licence from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

Hidden Agenda opened its current location in Hung To Road – its fourth venue since the club was founded in 2009 – in December after a fundraising drive generated HK$500,000.