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Thai retailer apologises for controversial Chinese New Year ad

Published on Jan 31, 2014 9:48 PM

BANGKOK (AFP) - A Thai retail giant on Friday apologised for a billboard advertisement showing a white woman pulling at the side of one eye, saying it had not realised the gesture could be "offensive" to Chinese people.

Central Pattana, which owns a string of large malls and department stores in Bangkok and other major cities, said it had removed the Chinese New Year advert as soon as it became aware of concerns over the image.

A picture of the billboard, which had a headline "Good to be Chinese", circulated on the social networking site Twitter on Friday, in the latest instance of apparently inadvertent cultural insensitivity in a Thai advert.

"We are extremely sorry for the lack of judgement in this issue as we did not realise that the gesture of the model in the advertisement would be offensive to the Chinese communities," said assistant vice-president Sakorn Thavisin in a statement.

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