Leon Lai cancels HK show over safety concerns

HONG KONG • Heavenly King Leon Lai had to cancel the first of his eight 30th anniversary concerts on the Central Waterfront in Hong Kong at the eleventh hour on Thursday, after enormous Chinese-made tented walls that enclosed the stage at the venue failed to meet fire safety requirements, said Apple Daily.

Nearly 4,000 fans - some of whom had travelled from China and overseas for the show - had to leave disappointed and some cried on the spot, said the report.

Yesterday, fans had to wait till about 4pm before Lai, 49, announced on Facebook that he would hold the second scheduled concert "as usual".

The solution was to dismantle all the tented walls, leaving only a roof that was high enough not to catch fire from the lighting, said Apple Daily.

On Thursday, about two hours before the 8pm opening of the first show, Hong Kong's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said in a press statement it could not issue a temporary public entertainment licence as the venue facilities did not comply with fire safety regulations.

Lai then announced the cancellation of the concert on Facebook, before appearing at the venue with a loudspeaker to break the news and apologise to his fans in person.

As it would have been his first show in five years, there were tears at the venue, where the crowd did not disperse until 9.30pm, said the report.

Online, there was anger, some of which was directed at the Enviromental Hygiene Department.

On Facebook, Lai explained that the Chinese tents were made of fireproof material, but had not received British fire safety accreditation. "It's our responsibility! Please don't blame the government!"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2016, with the headline 'Leon Lai cancels HK show over safety concerns'. Print Edition | Subscribe