23 October 2016
Hong Kong authorities are investigating complaints over improper sale of two books under Deep Web File series. Photo: RTHK
Hong Kong authorities are investigating complaints over improper sale of two books under Deep Web File series. Photo: RTHK

Concerns raised as schoolkids access books with graphic content

Hong Kong’s publication watchdog is looking into complaints that some books featuring violence and sexually explicit content have been sold in the city in an unrestricted manner, including even to school children.  

The Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration said it has received 125 complaints relating to Deep Web File, a Chinese language two-book series, as of 5 pm Wednesday, and that it is conducting an investigation.

The books containing graphic content are said to have been sold without any special packaging or warning. That has led to them falling in the hands of even primary school children, causing concern among teachers and parents.  

A message circulating among WhatsApp users said the books were available at various stores, including the well-known Taiwanese bookstore chain Eslite, without any warning messages or special wrapping.

According to news website, a primary school teacher raised an alarm after seizing a copy of a book, which includes a passage on cooking a girl, from a student.

Following the complaints, the publisher — Idea Publication — is said to have some steps to redress the situation.

When a reporter phoned a book store and inquired about the availability of the title, which was penned by an author under the pseudonym Scary Bird, the staff said the shop has decided not to sell the book to any customer aged below 18.

When reporters went to the Eslite bookstore in Tsim Sha Tsui on Wednesday afternoon, the two books published under the Deep Web File series were all sealed in special wrapping with a note warning readers of the graphic content.

Author “Scary Bird (恐懼鳥)”, in a Facebook post, confirmed that there was an instance where a primary school teacher had confiscated his book from a student.

The author called upon teachers and parents to be watchful over kids to prevent them from accessing content deemed offensive.

He admitted that the publishers should have enhanced the warning message on the book.

According to Apple Daily, the two recent books under the Deep Web File series have made it to the top ten bestsellers list at Eslite bookstore recently, thanks to a large teenage reader base.

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