The Hong Kong government revealed on Tuesday that it had spent over HK$2.47 million on seven TV ads in response to the large-scale pro-democracy protests which erupted last June over a now-axed extradition bill.

According to figures submitted by the Information Services Department (ISD) to the Legislative Council Finance Committee, the most expensive ad was the Treasure Hong Kong, our Home (I) video released on August 30 last year at a cost of HK$610,000.

One of the government’s advertisement is titled “Say No to Violence.” Photo: GovHK.

The one-minute clip portrayed hardworking workers in the city including bus drivers, street cleaners and porters. The video appealed to the public to treasure Hong Kong as their home and said: “What we have now has been built with the love and sweat of everyone.”

The government used the other ads to call on citizens to reject violence and guard against fake news.

In a 30-second rap song titled See the clear picture, the government urged young people to obey the law and not “ruin their future” by blocking transport during the citywide general strikes.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

The advertisements were aired freely on local television and radio channels, but the government paid another HK$750,000 to place the ads on social media platforms.

The anti-protest ads also appeared in print at a cost of HK$70,000, and an ad placement fee on MTR light box that cost HK$227,620.

In the budget announced by Financial Secretary Paul Chan in February, which is currently under review by the Finance Committee, the ISD has also asked for a 53.5 per cent budget boost for managing the government’s overseas publicity.

The new budget of HK$226.6 million will cover partnerships and advertising with international media, social media content production, publicity work for international events in the city and other promotional work by the Economic and Trade Offices outside Hong Kong.

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Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.