Why young mainland Chinese tourists in Hong Kong are slogging up 10-storey residential buildings and visiting public housing estates
Youngsters taking risks to get selfies at sites made popular by social media personalities on mainland
Many younger tourists from mainland China headed off the beaten track in Hong Kong for the National Day “golden week” holiday, thinking nothing of sneaking into buildings, scaling rooftop fences and sitting on high ledges just to take selfies.
The rooftop of a residential building in Sham Shui Po with a multicoloured mural in the background was a popular spot while the colourful Choi Hung Estate in East Kowloon also emerged as a cool site to give visitors a glimpse of the real city.
Some intrepid tourists were inspired by mainland social media personalities who had posed for photos on the edge of a 10-storey building on Wong Chuk Street with the Rainbow Thief mural by Madrid-based artist Okuda San Miguel in the background.
They did the same, unconcerned about safety.
Nuria Zhang Shenyun, 28, from Jiangsu province, was the first of her group to climb over a two-metre fence after managing to get into the building.
“No problem, it’s so easy to climb,” she said.
Zhang said it was not too dangerous to sit on the edge because there was space for her feet.
They wanted to get the Tai Nan Street mural – a rainbow fox – and a yellow building next door into their photos.
San Miguel was pictured sitting on the edge of a rooftop overlooking his artwork in 2016. His move became a hot online trend after mainland cyber stars did a similar thing, influencing others.
But Zhang admitted her presence might bother residents in the building.
“That’s why when I walked up, I kept quiet. If there was a complaint, then I would not do it. After all, it’s a residential area,” she said.
But not everyone had the courage. A mainland university student named Xiaoxiao, 18, said she was scared so she gave up.
Financial services worker Chen Jia, 23, also walked down after seeing the challenges on the rooftop.
“It’s disappointing. It’s depressing. It was tough to climb 10 floors,” she said.
A resident of the building named Mr Chou said he was worried about security because of intruders.
Lawmaker and Sham Shui Po district councillor Vincent Cheng Wing-shun, from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, warned of safety issues. He said sometimes visitors might go to risky places just to get good photos but should put safety first.
He also said it would be unfair on residents to see strangers skulking around their building, adding that some might call police. He urged visitors to be self-disciplined.
“It would not be ideal to see conflict arise,” he said.
Kowloon East’s Choi Hung Estate, known for the colourful facades of its public housing blocks, also attracted about 20 photo-taking visitors from the mainland on Monday afternoon.
University student Ms Jiang, from Sichuan province, said she got the urge to visit after seeing pretty pictures of the estate online.
“When I got here, I was thinking it was a residential area, and would it bother residents?” she said.
“But then there were a lot of people here and I didn’t think too much about it after that and started taking photos.”