Remember A Day
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Yves Saint Laurent perfume ban, proposal to rid Hong Kong streets of motorcycles: 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, 30 August, 2018, 12:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2018, 9:45pm

The banning of Yves Saint Laurent’s perfume “Opium”, and a proposal to take motorcycles off the streets of Hong Kong made the headlines four decades ago this week.

August 27, 1978

Local officials considered a proposal to impose a total ban on motorcycles. The plan had apparently been put forward by the Environment Branch, which was alarmed by the increasing number of accidents involving motorcyclists, some of whom were accused of turning roads into racing circuits.

Police had failed to block the renewal of a liquor licence for a nightclub in Mong Kok, where girls as young as 12 had been employed as hostesses. Despite numerous convictions, the Kowloon Star nightclub on Nathan Road was allowed to continue to serve alcohol for another year.

The nightclub raids that make Hong Kong look like a police state

August 28, 1978

A 10-year-old Egyptian girl sued her husband because he took her furniture, but when she appeared in court the judge ruled against her, saying she was too young to be married. The marriage was arranged 10 months earlier by the girl’s cousin, in lieu of a HK$63 (US$8) debt owed to the 32-year-old husband.

A Saudi was beheaded in public in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, for fatally stabbing a religious official who caught him eating during Ramadan.

Police in Sydney, Australia, clashed with gay rights supporters, who tried to stage an unlawful march through the heart of the city. More than 100 protesters were arrested.

August 29, 1978

Commercial Television staff planned to hold a meeting during which they would demand “the right to work” and call on the government to set up an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the TV station’s closure.

August 30, 1978

A knock at the door panicked a young black woman into leaping to her death while trying to escape through a window of her white boyfriend’s flat in Johannesburg, South Africa. The woman apparently feared it was a policeman intent on breaking up her illegal romance. It turned out to be a friend of her boyfriend.

A Tsuen Wan car dealer was being sought by police following complaints he had fled with more than HK$350,000 in deposits. The 40-year-old man left his wife 10 days earlier and was believed to be in Taiwan.

August 31, 1978

The Queensland Health Department in Australia banned a French perfume by Yves Saint Laurent, which was to go on sale in Brisbane retail stores under the brand name “Opium”. Health officials told the Australian distributor the name breached the Health Act.

Japan Air Lines planned to introduce low-cost travel between Japan and Hong Kong in early 1979. It was disclosed the airline would operate about 300 chartered flights a year to the city. The fare structure was yet to be decided. About half a million Japanese tourists were visiting the city every year.

September 1, 1978

The Australian government turned down a request by former US president Richard Nixon to make an official visit later in the month because of a heavy programme of formal visits by other overseas dignitaries. Nixon resigned at the height of the Watergate scandal in 1974.

September 2, 1978

Six people were killed and seven wounded in Cairo, Egypt, when a dispute over one family’s cow grazing in another family’s field escalated into a gun battle.

A waitress in Miami told a shirtless diner it was not restaurant policy to serve topless customers. The man stood up to apologise, only to reveal he was not wearing any trousers either. When arrested, the man said it was such a fine day he had decided to go for a bicycle ride in the nude.

Three Australian states and the capital city of Canberra joined Queensland state in declaring Yves Saint Laurent’s new perfume “Opium” inappropriate for retailers to sell. They banned its sale claiming its name misrepresented the product’s contents.