Giant pro-democracy banner removed from Hong Kong's famous Lion Rock
A team of firefighters and mountain rescuers has removed a huge pro-democracy banner for safety reasons, a day after it was hung from the highest point of Lion Rock, above Wong Tai Sin.
Hours after the removal yesterday, "Hong Kong Spidie", the group that claimed responsibility for hanging the yellow banner, said Hongkongers would never give up their pursuit of true democracy.
"The government can take away our banner up on the Lion Rock, but we can hang our own banner at home, at school, or put it on T-shirts, bags or even your forehead," the group said.
"Anywhere that we can hang up a banner of 'We want true universal suffrage' is our 'Lion Rock'."
The group's message was declared on the six metre by 28 metre banner that appeared on the jagged face in Lion Rock Country Park at about noon on Thursday. A group of climbers was behind the stunt, to show support for the Occupy Central movement.
The banner attracted many hikers to the hill yesterday morning, but police later cordoned off the area. After 11am, a Government Flying Service helicopter flew eight firefighters and five Civil Aid Service mountain rescue officers to the site.
Deputy chief fire officer Leung Wai-hung of the Fire Services Department, said they took about an hour to retrieve the banner.
"We did an assessment and believed this huge banner was a public safety risk because it was quite big," Leung said.
"If a strong wind were to blow it down, you don't know where it might go. If it got onto a road, it would definitely be a danger."
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, meanwhile, is continuing its investigation. A spokeswoman said that displaying any sign, notice, poster, banner or advertisement within a country park without a permit was punishable by a fine of up to HK$2,000 and up to three months' jail.
Lion Rock is a famous landmark that can be easily seen on both sides of Victoria Harbour. Many in the city associate the "Lion Rock Spirit" with striving for a better life - as embodied in 1970s RTHK drama Under the Lion Rock and its title song.