18+ Central adult-only carnival organisers hoping sex sells Hong Kong to Sevens fans
Organisers plan something for everyone at Harbourfront, but only the ladies are allowed to touch
It is no coincidence Hong Kong’s first adult-only carnival falls on the same weekend as the tourist-laden Hong Kong Sevens, its organisers said on Wednesday.
18+ Central, which features erotic BDSM workshops, pole dancing competitions and Japanese AV [adult video] girls to name just a few, takes place on the Central Harbourfront from Thursday to Sunday this week, coinciding with the rugby tournament.
“We are intentionally attracting tourists looking to enjoy their time after watching the Sevens,” said Kenny Lo, CEO of organiser Vertical Expo Services, which organised previous Asia Adult Expos in Hong Kong and Macau. “They will go to Lan Kwai Fong [after] so they can spend the night at the carnival [first].
“We tried our best to pick a time when Hong Kong is full of tourists for our 10 [stages and workshops]. They are in a big city so they will be expecting to enjoy something exciting – we’re making content to fit their demands.”
The two giant tents include one main stage, five sub-stages and four workshops of different erotic and artistic themes. There is a strong focus on the female and young couple demographic.
“Only one of the 10 is for men-only; the rest are for couples and females,” Lo said.
“In past Macau shows we invited many AV girls from Japan but this time – and this may disappoint the male fans – we limited the number to five.
“We will have some photo taking, poster signing and game activities but the regulations are that they can’t touch the girls – only they can touch you.
“In contrast, the [popular Australian male revue] Badboys and some other stages will allow private dances and interactive activities for the ladies.”
The organisers, who oversaw the Asia Adult Expo trade show in Hong Kong in 2013 and the Macau edition for more than 10 years, said they had agreed upon a series of arrangements with police to avoid any breaches in public behaviour.
“We don’t allow cameras inside – only mobile phones – and we will check ages twice to make sure everyone coming inside is over 18,” Lo said. “We have a bar, but I don’t think people are coming in for the alcohol. They want to see the stages.”
The tents are located in a secluded area of the harbourfront and any alcohol served must be consumed in plastic cups, not glasses.
“Many are mistaken that the government does not allow us to hold this event,” Lo said. “There were just procedures in finding venues and applying for licences.”
A senior police source who wished to remain anonymous said plain-clothed and uniformed police would be on site.
“We will have officers on standby and will go in and help with any incident if it becomes more serious than [the organisers] can handle,” the source said. “We have liaison officers posted so if they see something wrong, they will tell us.
“Drunkenness is not permitted for any liquor-licensed premises, inside or out. It is a licence condition and is their responsibility. People on the outside who are drunk will not be allowed in.”
With the Sevens and 18+ happening on the same weekend, the source anticipated more young people would frequent the Central area during the evening, but insisted public order would be maintained so long as the arrangements were followed.
Robbie McRobbie, chief executive of the Hong Kong Rugby Union, welcomed the new event and looked forward to promoting the city to visitors.
“We’re all in this together to make Hong Kong a top destination for people to visit,” he said. “For somebody in Hong Kong [these] two weeks, with Art Basel, the Sevens, 18+ … it all adds to a vibrant visitor experience, and hopefully it will reflect on the high percentage of visitors who say they will come back to Hong Kong and recommend it to their friends.”