A sold-out theatre production entitled “Case No. D7689” has been denied street banner promotional space as the Lands Department has said that no space was available.
The drama, first performed on Friday and set in 2026, is about a mysterious person who uncovered scandals surrounding Hong Kong’s mayor. In the future vision of the city, Hong Kong is no longer a special administrative region and the mayor is sent to trial. Presented by The Onest Productions, it is being performed at the Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre in co-operation with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
The phrase “D7689” is commonly used to express discontent towards Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. In 2012, Leung was elected to his post with just 689 votes from an election committee, whilst “D7” can be interpreted as Cantonese profanity.
The production team for the drama first asked government departments for street banner space allocation in early March, but none of their applications have been successful.
Director of the drama Oscar Fung Chun-yu said on a Commercial Radio programme on Friday that, after around two weeks, the Lands Department said that “spaces around the whole of Hong Kong Island were full”.
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“Then we received similar reasons with the applications at some districts in Kowloon and New Territories – that they were full,” Fung said.
Another reason given by the Lands Department to the production team was that it was not a non-profit organisation. However, Fung said the team was registered as a society with the police and that, under the Lands Department’s regulations, they should be allowed to apply for banner space.
Fung also said that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department accepted that they were a non-profit as it received a deduction in rent when applying for the venue.
Fung agreed with the radio hosts that the incident may have happened due to the sensitive name of the drama.
“Interestingly, every staff member at the Lands Department would avoid saying the full name of our drama… they either called it ‘Case No.’ and stopped… or said ‘your drama’,” Fung said.
Fung said that he rarely encountered staff members who would not say the name of a drama in the past, but the same situation happened when they spoke to staff members at Urbtix, the ticketing network.
“If the upper levels did not give guidelines about it being mentioned, and they [staff] self censored, then this is affecting Hong Kong… this is white terror,” he said.
Fung added that he considered changing the drama’s name as he did not want to waste a year’s effort, but he decided not to.
“I think that this is not just a performance, it is a show of attitude, to tell Hong Kong people that someone dares to challenge this sensitive word,” he said.