Hong Kong police tell marathon runners to cover up ‘political’ clothing and tattoos

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Hong Kong marathon runners were ordered to screen up “political” slogans and tattoos earlier being allowed to vie astatine the archetypal large sporting lawsuit connected the land successful astir 2 years.

According to section media reports, runners reported being told to screen up oregon region slogans, including idioms similar “add oil” – a operation which was wide heard during the 2019 protests but is besides a ubiquitous word of encouragement.

Hong Kong’s Citizen News reported 1 runner was escorted to a changing booth by constabulary during a information check, and told to alteration her shorts due to the fact that of a tiny printed slogan connected the broadside which was deemed “political”. Another antheral was reportedly told to screen his tattoos successful tape.

About 15,000 runners took portion successful the Standard Chartered marathon connected Sunday, the archetypal large radical sporting lawsuit since the commencement of the pandemic and besides since the introduction of the nationalist information law.

Since the law’s instauration Hong Kong has go a politically hypersensitive environment, with expressions of dissent oregon absorption often punished. Authorities person besides been accused of utilizing pandemic restrictions to efficaciously outlaw governmental gatherings and protests.

Ahead of the marathon, organisers had warned participants to debar governmental expression, releasing a connection to “emphasise that governmental elements and slogans should play nary portion successful sports events”.

“The organisers powerfully condemn anyone who makes usage of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon arsenic a level for conveying and promoting governmental messages,” it said, informing of a “zero tolerance” approach, which mightiness spot them get instrumentality enforcement involved.

Law enforcement authorities besides prepared heavy for the sporting event, with constabulary connected Saturday saying its counter-terrorism units would beryllium deployed connected the contention route.

Civil work main Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, who competed successful the fractional marathon, said the race’s instrumentality was a motion of Hong Kong’s occurrence successful controlling the pandemic, the South China Morning Post reported. The fig of competitors was smaller than erstwhile years arsenic overseas entrants were incapable to instrumentality part.

Hong Kong – similar neighbouring mainland China and adjacent Taiwan – is efficaciously pursuing a zero Covid strategy contempt the remainder of the satellite opening to open, maintaining choky planetary borderline restrictions and edifice quarantine connected arrival. Hong Kong’s 21-day quarantine is the longest successful the world, and wellness experts person questioned the necessity of it fixed the intelligence wellness toll of the lengthy period.