Around one hundred localists gathered in Mong Kok on Sunday to protest against the incursion of mainland “aunties” occupying street space with noisy and anachronistic dance routines.

Frustration with the older women known as “dama” is not unique to Hong Kong, however. In Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province authorities have resorted to using anti-terror sound cannons to drive away the gangs of retirees.

Long range acoustic device being installed in Wenzhou. Photo: Apple Daily.

As students across the country prepared to sit for college entrance exams upon which their future prospects hinge, sporting authorities in Lucheng District issued a notice requesting the cessation of group exercise in outdoor plazas, “to give examinees a peaceful environment” for revision.

In order to enforce the May 15th edict, patrols were organized to keep public spaces clear and a HK$150,000 sonic weapon was purchased, the same grade as those used by police forces to disperse groups of protestors.

As well as blaring sirens, the speakers also played the following phrase on a constant loop: “Please comply with the People’s Republic of China Law on the Prevention & Control of Environmental Noise Pollution, stop illegal activities immediately!”

Dancing aunties perform routine to commemorate war against Japan. Photo: NetEase.

According to the chairman of the local homeowners’ committee, Mr Wu, residents lived in peace until about two years ago, when armies of dama first began to besiege the neighbourhood’s open spaces. Now, he says, the area is a cacophony of hundreds of dancers from 6:00am in the morning to at least 10:00pm in the evening.

Wu says that residents repeatedly asked the aunties to turn down their music but were chased away each time. The sound cannon, he says, was a last resort.


Ryan Kilpatrick

Ryan Kilpatrick is a local writer, journalist and editor. Formerly National Online Editor for the That's magazine group in China, his work on the history and politics of the region has earned him the CEFC Award in Modern China Studies and has also appeared in China Economic Review, Asian Studies Review, China Green News, e-International Relations, Shanghaiist and various publications at his alma mater, the University of Hong Kong, where he is currently enrolled in the Master of Journalism programme.