- An estimated total of 200,000 fans were set to attend shows from December 9 to January 7
- Organiser cites safety and traffic concerns ‘in view of recent happenings’, and plans to arrange refunds
Hong Kong pop star Eason Chan Yik-shun has cancelled a 25-night run of concerts in the city due to ongoing political unrest, citing safety and traffic concerns.
On Thursday, organiser ESL announced the cancellation of the Fear and Dreams shows, which were scheduled to run from December 9 to January 7 at the Hong Kong Coliseum, in front of an estimated total of 200,000 fans.
"In view of recent happenings and after due consideration, we cannot predict and promise the safety of our audience and the traffic conditions in the course of our 25 shows commencing in two weeks' time," a notice posted by the company on its Facebook page read.
"This is a most difficult decision for us. In addition to the losses in time, efforts and costs, we have to bear the disappointment of nearly 200,000 audience members and our performers."
The cancellation came after the postponement of Taiwanese pop singer Jay Chou's concert at Hong Kong Disneyland in December and the cancellation of the city's biggest annual music and arts festival Clockenflap, which was originally scheduled to take place from Friday to Sunday.
Chan's concert was scheduled to be his first large-scale concert in the city since his last Coliseum concert six years ago. ESL said it could not promise to reschedule at a later date, "due to the vast number of audience affected, complexity of securing the performance venue and coordinating the availability of the cast and crew".
The collection of tickets bought online would be cancelled and the arrangement for refunds announced on December 18, it added.
In the hour after the announcement, Facebook posts posed by the organiser and Chan attracted more than 1,000 comments in total.
"Glory to Hong Kong!" many people wrote, referencing an anthem among the city's anti-government protest movement, which has gripped the city for nearly six months.
One user added: "I thought Eason's concert could help relieve the recent frustration. Although I'm disappointed, I support the decision. I hope when Hong Kong restarts, I can be lucky enough again to watch your concert. Hong Kong, add oil!"
Another user wrote: "I don't mind the cancellation. May light reshine on Hong Kong. Hongkongers, please unite! Hold the government, the origin of the bane of the city, accountable!"
Top Hong Kong music festival Clockenflap cancelled as protests intensify
Others were anxious to see the concert rescheduled.
"Can I use the ticket next time? I can watch after Hong Kong is liberated. I don't mind waiting," a user wrote. "It took me three hours to make calls for the ticket. Now it's cancelled. I'm really disappointed."
The wave of event cancellations comes as the protests, triggered by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, show no sign of waning.
Last week, protesters ground the city's transport system to a standstill by disrupting the rail network and blocking major throughways and tunnels. Violent clashes were seen not only on the city's streets, but also on university campuses.
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