The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) has refused to lease its venue to pro-democracy Cantopop singer Anthony Wong, the singer said last Friday.

The singer said he was initially notified in January that his application to book a venue at the HKCEC was successful.

Anthony Wong Au Nok-hin
Hong Kong singer-songwriter Anthony Wong performs in a campaign event for democrat Au Nok-hin in March 2018. Photo: Au Nok-hin, via Facebook.

However, the company managing the venue told the singer that they could not proceed with the event, without giving any reason, according to a letter Wong received last Thursday.

“We are sorry to inform you that we are not in a position to proceed with the execution of the licence agreement and the provision of venue for the Event,” the letter – shared by Wong -read.

The singer said had applied for various venues around the city since his last show in December, and that he had decided to tour overseas at the meantime.

He added he was told by the HKCEC that his audience could not stand up during the concert, which was originally scheduled to be held in August.

“They did not give reasons, but actually we all know what the reason is,” said Wong in the post.

“After receiving the notification from HKCEC that a slot has been approved, everyone in the team knew that it could not be that easy, and during the entire planning process, we knew that there is a chance at any moment that [the show] would be stopped,” Wong’s post read.

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Photo: GovHK.

A spokesperson from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited told HKFP on Sunday that the company “does not comment on details of any individual event.”

The singer, who was a vocal supporter of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement and the 2019 extradition bill protests, said that he and his team were “calm” when they received the cancellation notice.

“However, I think that the HKCEC management owes Hong Kong citizens an open explanation as to why the right of a citizen – who loves Hong Kong – to perform for other Hongkongers has been taken away,” the singer’s post read.

Wong also apologised to people who bought flight tickets for the concert, and said that the team was still thinking about their next steps.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.