Many Hongkongers know 689 to be the nickname of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

Leung is often heckled in the legislature by pan-democratic lawmakers – most notoriously by Wong Yuk-man – who enjoyed reminding him of the number.

It is commonly seen at protests….

Photo: HKFP.

…and was especially popular during the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests.

Photo: HKFP.

In January 2015, Puma removed a photo it posted of a runner’s identification tag bearing the number “D7689”. “D7” can be interpreted as Cantonese profanity.

Photo: Facebook screenshot.

Later that month, MTRC staff were issued with a warning after posting a photo of a train carriage bearing the code “D689” to unofficial social media feeds.

Netizens have since taken joy in spotting instances of the number around Hong Kong…

As well as creating art works and parodies related to “689”.

Netizens also noted that, when added together, 6+8+9 equals 23 – as in, Basic Law Article 23, which refers to Hong Kong’s widely criticised security law. A related bill was withdrawn following protests in 2003.

But Leung is not the only Chinese leader haunted by the figure. Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou was elected with 6.89 million votes in 2008 – the nickname also stuck.

Taiwan’s new leader Tsai Ing-wen was also elected with 6.89 million votes.

It is unclear if it will become her nickname, though the coincidence did not unnoticed by Hong Kongers…

【真選情分析】人物顯示比例按得票票數為依歸。戥人開心完,香港人,你之後又會點?有好多事,仲需要我哋嘅關注。#真普選 #暗角7警 #朱經緯的手臂延伸 #三跑 #全民退保 #一戴一露唔係路 #高鐵 #鉛水 #東江水 #創科局 #TSA #最高工時 #銅鑼灣書店五子 #投票率低 #689仲係度 #真係多不勝數TAG唔哂 2016相信仍然係辛苦的一年,香港人加油,為未來加油。

Posted by Mr & Ms HK People on Saturday, 16 January 2016

Mathematically, 689 is also a magical number. As explains, it is a strobogrammatic number, meaning it can be read upside down.


It is also the sum of consecutive prime numbers 227, 229 and 233, and it is the sum of the prime numbers between 83 and 109.

For Hongkongers, however, 689 will always be indelibly linked to the city’s unpopular leader.

Hong Wrong lives on at HKFP, offering a mix of news, mildly serious observation & irreverent claptrap chronicling the good, bad and ugly under the Fragrant Harbour’s fading lights.