Leon Lai Ming, a movie star dubbed one of the “Four Heavenly Kings” of Canto-pop in the 1990s, canceled a concert Thursday night just before it was to start, leaving his fans in limbo, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Friday.
Lai told waiting fans that the authorities had refused to issue a permit, because of fire safety concerns.
While the fans, some of whom flew to Hong Kong just to see Lai, were heartbroken at the last-minute news, many said they were willing to hold on to their tickets for a rescheduled concert on a date to be announced later.
Ticket holders lined up to enter the venue at the Central Harbourfront at 6 p.m. for the first of the eight carnival-like concerts in the “Leon 30th Anniversary Random Love Songs 4D in Live 2016″ series.
The outdoor venue can accommodate 4,500 fans, who paid between HK$980 and HK$2,980 per ticket.
The concert was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
However, at 5:43 p.m., the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said in a press release that no temporary permit for the concert would be issued, because the material of which the marquee that enclosed the venue was made failed to meet fire safety standards.
Soon after the announcement, Lai, 49, posted a recorded video clip on his Facebook page, saying the concert had to be called off.
Bowing to apologize for all the inconvenience caused and promising to make changes so that the rest of the concerts can be held as scheduled, he urged the fans to go home.
Lai also showed up at the venue, using a hand-held megaphone to repeat the message.
Tsang Tat-ming, a senior officer in the Hong Kong and West Kowloon division of the Fire Services Department, said at a press conference later that the problem regarding the marquee had been raised earlier this month.
But by Thursday, the event’s organizer had still failed to ensure the marquee met the British fire safety standards that are used in Hong Kong.
Tsang said the department could not issue the concert a fire safety certificate, which the organizer needed to apply for a permit from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
In a Facebook message posted later that night, Lai said he would announce by 4 p.m. Friday whether the second concert, scheduled for that day, can still be held.
Some angry and disappointed fans blamed the FEHD for doing a bad job, but Lai explained on Facebook that the fact that the mainland China-made marquee’s material didn’t meet the required standards had nothing to do with the department.
He said it was an issue that he must face himself, Apple Daily reported.
Kimmy Shuen King-on, chairman of Martini Group, the event’s organizer, was quoted as saying he did not know whether there is enough fireproof material that meets British standards to replace the marquee.
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