Macau pornographic film tax and America’s warning against booze and sex in communist countries: headlines from four decades ago

A journey back through time to look at significant news and events reported by the South China Morning Post from this week in history

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 June, 2018, 1:46pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 June, 2018, 8:43pm

American tourists travelling in communist countries being advised to avoid sex and alcohol, and Macau cinemas being taxed for showing pornographic films made the headlines four decades ago this week.

June 18, 1978

Vietnamese authorities were trying to stem an exodus of ethnic Chinese by offering them the same status as foreign nationals, but it was reported to have little effect. The refugees were mainly planning to escape not to China but to Hong Kong, from where they hoped to be resettled overseas.

June 19, 1978

Eight men and a woman were arrested after two men were killed and three seriously injured in a triad gang clash in the Lisboa Hotel in Macau. One of the victims was a leading figure in the 14K triad society in the Portuguese-administered territory.

Pop fans angry at the non-appearance of two American groups a night earlier set fire to an amphitheatre on the banks of the Rhine river in Bonn, destroying all the sound equipment, which had been worth about HK$2 million.

June 20, 1978

Leonid Brezhnev, president of the Soviet Union, kissed champion boxer Muhammad Ali on both cheeks and talked about the weather during a meeting at the Kremlin. Ali was on a private visit with his wife Veronica.

June 21, 1978

An industrial site in Sha Tin fetched HK$20 million – a record for the area at a public auction. The price for the 40,709 sq ft site was effectively HK$491 per square foot – only marginally below prices for a comparable urban site.

Macau’s sex shops would have to pay a licence fee of 150,000 patacas to the government under a new law forbidding shop owners from advertising their merchandise and selling obscene material to people under 18. Meanwhile, sex films could only be screened at cinemas after 11.30pm and theatres screening them would be taxed 3.5 patacas per seat, irrespective of the number of tickets sold.

Flogged Britons, trousers for horses and a burning woman: past headlines

An Iranian youth, who had recently returned home after three years’ study in London, was arrested for kissing a young woman in public in southwestern Iran without her consent. The 19-year-old told police the girl wore a medallion that said, “Kiss me”, which he considered a form of consent. The young man faced up to three months in prison.

June 22, 1978

American tourists in communist countries had been issued with a government warning: avoid sex and cut down on drinking. Further advice, contained in a pamphlet produced by the State Department, said that if a tourist found a microphone in their hotel room, they should not attempt to do anything because they might be under surveillance by a hidden camera.

June 23, 1978

Hong Kong’s HK$150 million ivory industry would not be able to import elephant tusks from Africa unless they came with export licences.

This was to ensure that ivory only originated from legally slaughtered elephants, in accordance with the Washington Convention.

Mainland Chinese television would, for the first time, show soccer’s World Cup final. The match that year was between Holland and Argentina. China had only about 1 million television sets, but tens of millions of people were expected to gather around television sets in factories, barracks and other public places to watch the game.

China would admit 100 American tourists a week starting January 1, 1979, under an agreement signed between Pan American Airways and China Travel Service.

June 24, 1978

Police officers might soon have the power to order a motor vehicle to be sent for a Transport Department examination to check its roadworthiness, under proposed legislation to be introduced the following month.

Remember A Day looks at significant news and events reported by the Post during this week in history