The curtains will close on song-and-dance performances in a Tuen Mun park, authorities have said, after thousands protested against nuisance caused by mostly middle-aged women from mainland China. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department announced on Tuesday that they would no longer accept applications from groups to put up acts at two self-entertainment zones in Tuen Mun Park which were formerly designated public areas for performers. “The Tuen Mun district council has agreed to shut down the zones on Tuesday,” the department said in a statement, adding that it respected the council’s decision and would “proactively follow up”. It said 139 approved applications for performances over the next two months would not be affected. All 25 Tuen Mun district councillors from both political camps present at a meeting on Tuesday passed a non-binding motion asking the government to scrap the two zones. Mong Kok street performers band together to call for licensing system This comes after more than a decade of noise complaints from residents and after an estimated 10,000 people took to the streets last week against performers they said had caused excessive noise pollution and who put on indecent shows. “The problem has obviously got out of control,” said Democratic Party councillor Catherine Wong Lai-sheung. “Ten years ago, it was only Cantonese opera singers who performed in an orderly, respectful manner. “Now it’s just these groups singing songs nobody wants to hear, and trying to outsing each other by turning up the loudspeakers to full blast.” Now it’s just these groups singing songs nobody wants to hear, and trying to outsing each other by turning up the loudspeakers to full blast Catherine Wong, district councillor The zones, set up in 2006, allowed performances on the condition that no amplifiers or loudspeakers were used. But residents complained those rules were not enforced. Their ire in recent years have mostly been directed at groups of dama or “big mama” – an impolite Chinese term for middle-aged women – for inundating the park, blaring songs through loudspeakers, dancing suggestively while skimpily dressed and even engaging in sexual activities with park-goers. A police representative said they received reports last month that some groups had put on indecent performances and accepted money from fans. Officers were sent out three times to the scene, but were not successful in their operation. The representative said due to the recent extradition bill protests in Admiralty, they had insufficient manpower to conduct further investigations. Mong Kok buskers say thank you and good night On a busy day, more than a dozen groups of three to five entertainers each could be performing at the same time in Tuen Mun Park. Depending on their popularity, their mini-concerts could attract more than 100 fans at a time, district councillors said. On Tuesday, the usual performers were nowhere to be seen. Many chose to stay low after protesters marched through Tuen Mun to the park on Saturday, mocking the dama performers and even chasing one into a public toilet. District councillors said the move to close the zones was a first step in the right direction, but urged authorities to step up enforcement to solve the root of the problem. “The issue is not just about shutting down the two zones. Performers have spread out all over the park, but authorities have done nothing to stop them,” said councillor Lung Shui-hing, a member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. The issue is not just about shutting down the two zones. Performers have spread out all over the park, but authorities have done nothing to stop them Lung Shui-hing, district councillor Both Lung and Wong said department officers had to collaborate with police to patrol the area and ban performers from bringing in loudspeakers and amplifiers to the park. They cited the Pleasure Grounds Regulation which stipulates that officers can stop performers, unless the entertainers had a written permission from the department director. Councillor Leo Chan Manwell, a Federation of Trade Unions member, said such joint-enforcement was needed once every several days to stem the problem, instead of just one or two large operations. Michael Mo Kwan-tai, convenor of a Facebook page named Tuen Mun Park Sanitation Concern Group that organised the Saturday protest, said performers now had no excuse but to queue up for their acts in the park’s amphitheatre, which seats about 300 people. Is Tsim Sha Tsui the new Mong Kok for Hong Kong’s street performers? “It’s a good first step, and now it’s all about whether the department has the will to take action and proper enforcement with police,” Mo said. The department said it would continue to monitor performances outside the self-entertainment zones, remain in close cooperation with police and take action when necessary to maintain order in the park. In the past six months, the department received 342 complaints against music performances in Tuen Mun Park, with 80 per cent of them involving noise disturbances. The rest centred on receiving rewards and indecent behaviour.