A series of four “Hell No Hong Kong” memes posted to lawmaker Regina Ip’s Instagram account were shared in error, she has told HKFP.

regina meme
The now-deleted memes posted on Regina Ip’s Instagram. Photo: Regina Ip via Instagram.

The now-deleted graphics showed cut-outs of the Executive Council convenor in floral settings, in an apparent parody of the city’s “Hello Hong Kong” tourism reboot campaign.

The four posts, which emerged on Tuesday afternoon, disappeared shortly after HKFP contacted Ip’s assistant. When asked if the account had been hacked, Ip’s assistant said they had been “uploaded by mistake, deleted.”

Ip told HKFP that the images were randomly Photoshopped by netizens and shared with her by her team: “I was in meetings and multitasking. I overlooked the wording. It wasn’t ‘Hello Hong Kong’, it was ‘Hell no Hong Kong.'”

“I deleted everything. I overlooked one word. That’s very embarrassing,” she said, adding that she was alerted to the gaffe after reporters got in touch.

The New People’s Party legislator said that, unlike Chief Executive John Lee, she “only has a small team” working on her public image.

Meme queen?

A Monday post, showing a mooncake-clutching Ip superimposed on a flower bed to mark the opening of the Hong Kong Flower Show, remains online. It had received almost 4,000 “likes,” as of Tuesday afternoon.

Ip’s fluency with social media has gained the former security chief a cult following among local meme accounts, with Valentine’s Day and holiday-themed photoshoots attracting equal amounts of delight and derision. Ip said the photo of her “against a bed of flowers was very pretty.”

“If you want to boost your following on the internet, you need different photos… If you have purely official photos, it’s very boring,” Ip told HKFP, adding that she comes up with photoshoot ideas herself.

Additional reporting: Hillary Leung.

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Tom founded Hong Kong Free Press in 2015 and is the editor-in-chief. In addition to editing, he is responsible for managing the newsroom and company - including fundraising, recruitment and overseeing HKFP's web presence and ethical guidelines.

He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He previously led an NGO advocating for domestic worker rights, and has contributed to the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Al-Jazeera and others.