Hong Kong’s No 2 official has expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with international and regional rugby governing bodies as city police launch an investigation into whether there was criminal intent behind mix-ups involving the Chinese national anthem and a protest song at several matches. Chief Secretary Eric Chan Kwok-ki on Sunday said it was “ridiculous” and “unbelievable” that mistakes concerning the national anthem had occurred several times, and accused World Rugby and Asia Rugby of giving questionable accounts on how the incidents took place. Meanwhile, a rugby insider said it was possible that broadcast production staff involved in one of the incidents might have used Wikipedia and Google to find information about the anthem, instead of visiting government websites, without knowledge of the geopolitical implications. Chan said: “We were strongly dissatisfied that such incidents had happened repeatedly,” he told the press at a public event. “We will take the incidents seriously. The organisations’ explanations were unconvincing and it is incomprehensible that such experienced bodies can make these mistakes.” City authorities would write to the governing bodies to express their strong dissatisfaction and demand full investigations into the incidents and more detailed explanations, he added. The chief secretary said police would investigate whether the blunders constituted criminal acts, while the government had demanded the Hong Kong Rugby Union draw up plans to make sure the correct anthem, flag and related information was given to event organisers to avoid further problems. He was speaking after a series of mix-ups involving the Chinese national anthem “March of the Volunteers” and the protest song “Glory to Hong Kong” at overseas sporting events. “Glory to Hong Kong” was often used by anti-government protesters during the city’s 2019 social unrest. A rugby match in Incheon, South Korea, came under the spotlight last weekend after the protest song was played instead of the national anthem as the city’s team took to the field for the final against the host nation. Rugby body admits it failed to send anthem after Hong Kong protest song blunder Two other incidents emerged on Saturday, with a video clip featured on a popular sports streaming site showing Hong Kong’s rugby team standing on the pitch in a Dubai stadium before a match with Portugal on November 6 as the correct anthem played, but the TV station that broadcast the game gave the title of the song at the bottom of the screen as “Glory to Hong Kong”. The Hong Kong Rugby Union had said World Rugby, the competition’s organiser, attributed the error to a “graphics operator” and had apologised for the mistake. The same graphic was also used by the international body’s broadcast production crew in its coverage of a match between Hong Kong and Tonga at the Sunshine Coast Stadium in Australia on July 23, the union added. A source familiar with sports broadcast production in Asia said the mishaps could partly be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, given Hong Kong had barely participated in international rugby since 2019, adding that staff involved did “lazy graphics works”. He said the production staff in Dubai might have used Google to find the anthem, instead of visiting government websites or other reputable sources, adding it was “unlikely at this level that people understood geopolitical implications and sports protocols”. “These are international production crews primarily. They are not following the Hong Kong story closely, but Google and Wikipedia are obviously not good sources,” he said. “Someone should be vetting [the information],” he said. The source pointed to a similar incident when Kenya played against Portugal on November 12 during which the second line of the Kenyan national anthem was labelled as its title. The song’s name is “Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu”, which means “O God, of all creation”. The Post has reached out to World Rugby for comment. A check by the Post on Sunday found that a Google search for “Hong Kong national anthem” showed the Wikipedia page, which involved user-generated content, for the protest song “Glory to Hong Kong” as the top result, while the correct national anthem only appears second. In the Wikipedia page, it said the protest song was “widely accepted by pro-democracy Hong Kong citizens as the true, one and only national anthem of Hong Kong”. Francis Fong Po-kiu, honorary president of the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, pointed out that there was no such thing as a Hong Kong national anthem. He explained that with discussion online about the protest song during the 2019 anti-government demonstrations, it could have easily been pushed higher up in the results, as Google typically showed popular searches. He also said the city’s government could negotiate with Google to change or delete search results, but as the company was based in the United States and not subject to local laws, the decision was entirely up to the search engine. Fong suggested authorities could hire agencies to amend the Wikipedia pages, as the content was written by internet users, but it is up to the site’s administrators to approve the edits. 2 more incidents emerge of Hong Kong protest song mixed up with national anthem Ronnie Wong Man-chiu, honorary secretary general of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, on Sunday said the organisation planned to issue guidelines designed to prevent similar blunders before the end of the month to affiliated associations. The committee’s guidelines would advise associations taking part in international competitions to provide the correct national flag and anthem to organisers, and designated personnel should be responsible for carrying out checks before each event, he said. Wong added that sports team leaders and coaches would also be instructed to suspend games immediately if anything went wrong and would be told to quit the event if an immediate correction was not made. Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Saturday also expressed his anger over such incidents at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bangkok. Lee said he had emphasised that any organisation involved in international events had a responsibility to ensure the official anthem was played and should respect the symbolism of the song.