Suspecting conspiracy after a banned pro-democracy protest song replaced the Chinese national anthem at a rugby match in South Korea, Hong Kong authorities have asked the police to investigate the matter even as a source from the event organizer reportedly said they never received the right recording.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, on Tuesday, said “appropriate actions will be taken” as the police investigate if the incident involved a conspiracy to breach Hong Kong legislation, including the Beijing-imposed national security law, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
As reported Monday, Hong Kong condemned the organizers of the rugby tournament in Incheon for playing “Glory to Hong Kong” — a song that rose to popularity during the 2019 protest movement — instead of the Chinese national anthem “March of the Volunteers” before the territory’s team played against the host country in the finals of the second leg of Asian Rugby Seven Series on Sunday.
Addressing the press, Lee expressed “strong opposition” against the protest song being played at the start of the match. “I have expressed disapproval and strong opposition that a song closely related to the 2019 ‘black violence’ and Hong Kong independence was played instead of the national anthem,” he said.
However, as per the SCMP report, Lee did not reveal if the police would also be collecting evidence in South Korea as part of their investigation but said he believed the force had enough experience in handling the case and would take appropriate action.
Meanwhile, adding a new twist to the controversy, an unnamed source at the Korean Rugby Union involved in hosting the tournament told SCMP they did not receive the correct recording of the Chinese national anthem.
“It is a fact that the Korea Rugby Union didn’t receive the anthem at all, either from the Hong Kong team or from Asia Rugby,” the source reportedly said.
This contradicts earlier reports which said the Hong Kong team coach handed the correct recording of the Chinese national anthem, but the pro-protest democracy song was played due to a human error by a junior staff of the local organizer.
The Hong Kong team reportedly brought the mistake to the attention of the organizer, who then made a public announcement conveying an apology, and the Chinese national anthem was played after the game.