Date
22 November 2017
Despite the upcoming anthem law, local football fans continued to boo the Chinese national anthem before the Asian Cup qualifying match against Lebanon on Tuesday. Photo: RTHK
Despite the upcoming anthem law, local football fans continued to boo the Chinese national anthem before the Asian Cup qualifying match against Lebanon on Tuesday. Photo: RTHK

Local football fans boo national anthem again at Asian Cup match

Local football fans again booed the national anthem before the start of an Asian Cup qualifying match between the home team and Lebanon on Tuesday night, Apple Daily reports.

Hundreds of spectators turned their backs on the pitch, hurled insults and raised their middle finger as The March of the Volunteers was being played at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Despite the booing, former justice secretary Elsie Leung Oi-see said she does not see the need for the local version of the anthem law to have retroactive effect.

Earlier, Leung had warned that the Legislative Council could consider making it retroactive in the wake of such display of disrespect to the national anthem.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee earlier this month inserted a new law banning the disrespect of the national anthem into Annex III of the Basic Law, paving the way for the Legislative Council to pass a localized version of the statute.

Most of the Hong Kong fans, wearing red jerseys, were seated on the east side of the stadium.

As they booed the anthem, many covered their faces with their hands or banners. Some even jeered at news photographers and warned them against taking their pictures.

One of the fans who booed, surnamed Cheung, said the anthem is not worth respecting.

He said he is not worried if undercover policemen would take pictures of him. “What’s done is done,” he said.

Security measures at the stadium were apparently heightened. Six checkpoints were installed at the entrances to prevent fans from bringing in banned items, including bottles.

Plainclothes police officers were seen patrolling the stadium, with some using cameras to  monitor the situation.

A secondary six student surnamed Wong said he came to support the Hong Kong team.

He said there was no need to pass legislation to force people to respect the flag and the anthem. “If you respect people, people will respect you,” he said.

Brian Leung Hung-tak, chairman of the Hong Kong Football Association, said the situation at the station was not as bad as before because the booing was not too loud.

Pui Kwan-kay, vice chairman of the association, also said the noise from the spectators was not as loud as during the game against Malaysia in October.

In the latest match, Hong Kong lost to Lebanon, 1:0.

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EL/BN/CG

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