From butcher aprons to Spam cushions, vendors went the whole hog on Wednesday to attract festive shoppers as the Lunar New Year market at Victoria Park opened – the most popular of 15 such bazaars across the city. The Year of the Pig begins on Tuesday and stalls hammed up their decorations to fit the theme. A group of university students – who had been classmates in middle school – were dressed as butchers, with “bloody” aprons, to hawk stuffed pig toys, chopping boards and Spam cushions. One said this would be their last chance to run a stall together as many would be busy with exchange programmes and internships next year. At another booth, Jerry Ng Hon-fan, a 17-year-old pupil from Hong Kong Tang King Po College, said taking part in the market was a unique experience. “You can’t learn this from books – sales strategies and how to communicate with people,” he said. Ng said about 50 pupils from his school would take turns to operate the booth, with teachers on site to help. About HK$150,000 (US$19,100) had been put into the project, he added. Apart from pig-themed products, items resembling the Fire Services Department’s viral blue mascot, Anyone, also made an appearance. A blue stuffed toy called “Anypig” was available for HK$100. The pro-democracy camp trotted out jabs at Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor with parody products. The League of Social Democrats had a giant cushion resembling a banknote reading: “Hong Kong people pay for the construction of white elephant projects” – a dig at Lam’s proposal to create 1,700 hectares of land off Lantau by way of reclamation. The project is expected to cost more than HK$500 billion. The cushions sold for HK$200. The Democratic Party sold a board game in which Lam and her predecessor Leung Chun-ying were cast as werewolves. In another part of the market occupied mostly by farmers, bees bumbled around the flowers on display. Two cherry blossom farmers said they had lowered their prices because their plants had bloomed too early. Depending on size, the cherry blossoms went for HK$150 to more than HK$5,000. About 40 officers from the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department patrolled the booths, numbering more than 450, checking for counterfeit products. Peggy Tam Pui-ying, divisional commander of the department’s Intellectual Property General Investigation branch, said: “If we find any infringing goods being sold here, we will contact the relevant trademark owner to ascertain whether it is genuine or not. If it is not, we will take action.” Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, selling counterfeit products carries a maximum jail sentence of five years and a fine of up to HK$500,000. Offenders may also face a fine of HK$50,000 for each counterfeit good and up to four years in jail under the Copyright Ordinance. Tam said officers found no suspicious goods at the park on Wednesday morning and that other markets would also be patrolled. The department did not prosecute any Lunar New Year market retailers last year, she added. The Lunar New Year markets will be opened until next Monday.