Netizens are laying into MTR Corp. after Hong Kong’s rail operator warned staff to be mindful of the number “D689″.
The warning was prompted by a photo of a train compartment showing “D689″ on the MTR Service Update Facebook page.
The image was posted by an MTR employee and quickly went viral, according to Ming Pao Daily.
Alert passengers and netizens were quick to link it to the “D7689″ controversy which forced Puma to withdraw a Facebook commercial featuring the number on a runner’s bib after a pro-government supporter complained to its chief executive.
The ad was part of a marketing campaign in the run-up to Sunday’s Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon.
The complainant said the ad insulted Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
In Cantonese, “D7″ sounds like the English f-word; “689″ is the number of election committee votes it took Leung to become Hong Kong leader in the 2012 chief executive election.
In the MTR incident, employees were told to clearly state that they are expressing a personal opinion when making sensitive posts on social media.
But netizens denounced it as an attempt to curb free speech, with some saying rail authorities should simply call their announcements “MTR Service Update Page (personal opinions)”.
Solicitor Daniel Wong said the warning was unnecessary.
The original Facebook post explained that “D” stands for “non-motorized trailer” and “689″ is the serial or identification number of the compartment.
An MTR spokesman said the guidelines are not new but a repeat of previous staff reminders.
[Go to MTR Service Update] (Chinese only)
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