HKFP Exclusive

The well-known ‘Occupy Hotel’ nestled in a Causeway Bay apartment has reportedly been taken off on Airbnb, two days after a visit from government officials.

Stephen Thompson, operator of the apartment commemorating last year’s pro-democracy Occupy protests, reported two surprise earlier visits by officials from the Office of the Licensing Authority.

occupy hotel
The Occupy Hotel serves as a recreation of the Occupy Central protest site. Photo: Stephen Thompson.

During their second visit, the two officials asked Thompson if he had any paying guests, which he denied. They then took photos of the apartment’s Umbrella Movement memorabilia and left.

Two days later, Airbnb sent Thompson an email notifying him that the listing for ‘Occupy Hotel’ would be taken down, without providing a reason for the decision to delist the property.

Thompson strongly suspects that the Hong Kong government persuaded Airbnb to remove his listing.

“The Government waited until about a year to settle scores with the student leaders and other activists,” he told HKFP. “I think they want to silence anybody who is a focal point for pro-democracy activism, so it is just part of the inexorable march of Chinese Leninism stamping down on Hong Kong.”

occupy study centre
Photo: HKFP.

Commenting on Airbnb’s decision to remove his listing, Thompson said that the company “acted in an arbitrary way, exercising its power like a dictatorship.”

Now, Thompson says, “all the work that I did building up an online profile, collecting positive reviews, is all wasted. And they haven’t answered my enquires about this. In fact, after I told them that I think this is political, they went a step further and delisted a property I had advertised in the UK, and seem to have removed my profile, too.”

The company’s Terms of Service state: “Airbnb reserves the right, at any time and without prior notice, to remove or disable access to any Listing for any reason, including Listings that Airbnb, in its sole discretion, considers to be objectionable for any reason, in violation of these Terms or Airbnb’s then-current Policies and Community Guidelines, or otherwise harmful to the Site, Application or Services.”

HKFP has reached out to Airbnb for comment.

Medhavi Arora is in her final year at the University of Hong Kong studying Journalism and International Relations. Her print, video and multimedia pieces have been featured in the Times of India and CNN-IBN. She is a former intern at UN Women and has additional experience in sustainability, international affairs and communications.