An alliance outraged by HSBC’s display of two lion statues in pro-LGBT rainbow colours at its Central headquarters claims its online signature petition has been hacked ahead of a protest outside the bank. Petition organiser Roger Wong Wai-ming, convenor of the Family School Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance Concern Group, said thousands of signatures were lost on its Chinese petition platform against the bank’s campaign to support sexual minorities. Watch: HSBC’s rainbow lions cause storm in Hong Kong By December 8, a day before the alleged cyberattack, the group claimed it had collected 10,645 signatures, with 72.6 per cent being HSBC customers and 16.6 per cent its shareholders. The petition, jointly organised by eight groups, was launched on December 5 to express disapproval at the “disgusting” display, which they claimed had trampled on the family values of Hongkongers and hurt the feelings of customers and shareholders. “We already planned to stage a protest on December 14 in front of the two lions. However, we found that our Chinese website might be under attack as the signatures collected on December 9 were garbled,” Wong told the Post . He said they could retain only 6,600 intact signatures while the data showed there were more than 70,000 garbled signatures. “We don’t know how many garbled signatures are real. The IT experts we consulted believed that someone used a program to generate signatures with garbage information maliciously.” The groups called on people who had signed after the morning of December 9 to submit their signatures again on their new online platforms. Hong Kong’s eighth annual Pride Parade sees 6,800 marchers call for law to protect LGBT community from discrimination The controversy arose after HSBC kicked off the “Celebrate Pride, Celebrate Unity” campaign late last month by displaying replicas in rainbow colours of Stephen and Stitt, the bank’s iconic lions, in front of its main building. Diana Cesar, HSBC group general manager and chief executive, explained that the campaign called for support for the local LGBT community and “equality for everyone”. Wong said they would proceed with the protest on Wednesday as planned with a submission of signatures to HSBC’s representatives and a demand for an open meeting with management. An HSBC spokeswoman said earlier the bank’s commitment to diversity and inclusion had helped it to attract, develop and retain employees. And Brian Leung Siu-fai, of the pro-LGBT Big Love Alliance, said this was not the first time HSBC had supported sexual minorities. “HSBC shareholders should have been aware of its stance a long time ago,” he said. But Wong insisted that as a leading bank in Hong Kong with many shareholders, HSBC should not openly support a controversial social movement when no consensus had been reached in society and it had not been endorsed by shareholders. “If one day the CEO of HSBC happens to support or oppose Occupy Central, can he use the name and resources of HSBC to support or oppose Occupy Central?” he asked.