November 15, 2022
HONG KONG – Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said the Hong Kong Police Force will investigate whether the broadcast of a song closely associated with the city’s 2019 social unrest at an overseas rugby tournament violated the National Anthem Ordinance and other laws.
Lee said that Chief Secretary for Administration Eric Chan Kwok-ki has met with Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong Baek Yong-chun to express the SAR government’s strong objection and demand for a comprehensive inquiry.
Lee said that Chief Secretary for Administration Eric Chan Kwok-ki has met with Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong Baek Yong-chun to express the SAR government’s strong objection and demand for a comprehensive inquiry
He emphasized that a national anthem is one of the most cherished symbols of a country and must be respected on all occasions.
The incident happened on Sunday before the men’s final between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and South Korea in the second leg of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series in Incheon, South Korea.
The event organizer wrongly played a song closely associated with violent protests and the “independence” movement in 2019 instead of the National Anthem of the People’s Republic of China.
According to Asia Rugby, the recording of the national anthem submitted by the HKSAR team’s coach was the correct one, and the mistake was caused by “human error” committed by a junior staff member of the local organizer.
It apologized on Monday to the Hong Kong Rugby Union, the HKSAR government and the central government for the incident.
In a statement issued earlier on Monday, the HKSAR government said the organizer of the tournament has a duty to ensure that the national anthem receives the respect it deserves.
As early as Sunday night, the government had requested the Hong Kong Rugby Union to convey its objection to Asia Rugby, and also its demand for a full and in-depth investigation into the incident with a detailed report, according to the statement.
Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung pledged that the government will conduct a detailed investigation.
The HKSAR government will discuss with sports associations on how to handle similar situations in the future so that athletes would know how to better deal with them, Yeung added.
The Hong Kong Rugby Union and Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China also expressed their strong disapproval about what happened, saying it was unacceptable.
Lawmakers Michael Luk Chung-hung and Maggie Chan Man-ki said that the incident constitutes an insult to all Chinese people.
Luk called for an investigation on whether some local activists had colluded with foreign forces to spread secessionist messages.
Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, who represents the Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication functional constituency in the Legislative Council, said he will write a letter to the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong to express his strong concern about the incident.
Ronny Tong Ka-wah, a senior counsel and a current non-official member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong, said the incident was definitely not an honest mistake.
Those involved may have committed incitement under the Crimes Ordinance, secession or collusion with foreign forces under the Hong Kong National Security Law, or conspiracy to violate the National Anthem Ordinance, he noted.
On Monday afternoon, members of local political group Civil Force came to the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong to protest the incident.