'Unicorn hero' who collided with Regina Ip in Lunar New Year accident breaks silence
A unicorn dancer who became an overnight “hero” after he almost knocked over Executive Councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee during a fortune-telling ceremony in a Sha Tin temple finally broke his silence Tuesday on what happened.
The media had been searching for Tse Lap-yuen, 45, since the accident on Friday, the second day of Lunar New Year, when he and a partner bumped into the New People’s Party chairwoman.
Ip nearly fell to the ground but regained her balance thanks to other guests.
She had been attending the annual ritual as a guest at the Che Kung Temple for the first time, with Heung Yee Kuk leaders including chairman Lau Wong-fat and Sha Tin Rural Committee and Sha Tin District Council delegates.
Video clips taken at the site from different media groups uploaded online have gone viral since Friday.
Watch: Hong Kong legislator Regina Ip almost knocked over by unicorn dancer during Chinese New Year ceremony (Video souce from Asia Television)
The media had failed to locate Tse until Tuesday in his village, where he said it was an accident.
The native of Fui Yiu Ha Village, Sha Tin, now jokingly nicknamed online as “the unicorn hero”, told Apple Daily: “It happened very suddenly. I’ve never seen this [kind of accident] over the years.”
Tse, the owner of a renovation firm, learned unicorn dancing from his father while he was a teenager, and he set up a team with other villagers. They have joined the annual ritual at Che Kung Temple for the past decade.
A unicorn, or “qilin” in putonghua, is a mythical hooved chimerical creature in Chinese folklore. It is a good omen thought to bring prosperity or serenity.
Tse said he had made sure no one was around before making a swing to the right after a salute to Che Kung at the entrance of the temple when he knocked into Ip, pushing her into the crowd.
Ip did not fall to the ground as she was cushioned by other guests and was not hurt. She continued her participation in the ritual which was not interrupted.
“I immediately noticed the bump and I tried to help to get her up”, said Tse.
He said guests would usually stand behind the unicorn until they were invited to go inside the temple when liturgies were completed.
“This time was unusual. Mrs Ip came out from the side,” Tse said.
Ip on Tuesday night reiterated that the case was a minor accident that she did not hold anyone responsible.
But she said: “I was somewhat amused that the accident provided so much mirth and entertainment to the community.”
And she said it would be up to the organisers to think about if they should make improvements on guests’ positioning in the future.
Right after the accident on Friday, she said she was lucky as she was supported and held by some men nearby so she escaped injury.
She said: “I did not expect I would have such a memorable second day of Lunar New Year.”
On Sunday, she added on her Facebook page that she had no choice of where to stand in that packed situation on the day – rejecting claims the collision was due to her standing in the wrong place.
And she said: “If I took the brunt for other village elders, this might a good deed.”
Tse said some young villagers approached him to learn unicorn dance after the accident. “This may seem good to us, but may not seem so to Mrs Ip.”