Shopping mall replaces ‘vulgar’ comics to poke fun at pro-Beijing district councillor’s complaints

Published (HKT): 2020.10.26 06:39

Following complaints by a pro-Beijing district councillor, a series of illustrated advertisements depicting beautiful women in revealing outfits were taken down from the outside of a local shopping mall, only to be replaced by a new set of humorous drawings that appear to make light of the council member’s objections.

The original series by Hong Kong comic artist Elphonso Lam was displayed as outdoor advertising on the facades of Sham Shui Po’s Dragon Centre shopping mall. The set of six cartoons depicted young female characters in bikinis and other skimpy attire that revealed their cleavage.

The cartoons drew criticism soon after they were unveiled in mid-October. Sham Shui Po district councillor, Lau Pui-yuk of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, led a group of parents to protest at Dragon Centre, demanding the billboards be taken down. They condemned the cartoons of women in revealing clothing and suggestive poses to be vulgar and said they were bad influences on children.

The ads were taken down on Oct. 12 as a no. 8 typhoon signal was hoisted when tropical cyclone Nangka hit the city. Some netizens criticized the mall for giving in to the pro-Beijing district councillors' complaints and said that Hong Kong did not even have the freedom to display a comic illustration.

Lam responded at the time that the billboards were taken down for safety reasons rather than as a response to the complaints. He also hinted that the mall had a surprise in store for the public.

The anticipated surprise came at around 1 a.m. on Sunday as a new set of illustrations was installed. Penned by comic artist Gum Siu-man, the drawings bear a completely different style to Lam’s pictures and feature a more humorous, cartoonish look for heavier and less modelesque female characters. The women, however, are depicted wearing the same clothes and being in the same poses as those in Lam’s drawings.

The new ads became a popular selfie attraction on Sunday. When asked about whether another round of complaints will be lodged, district councillor Lau said she only reflected parents' opinions upon receiving their complaints. She declined to comment on the style of the new comics, saying that her personal opinion was not important and that Hong Kong was a diverse society.

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