Screen test for Hong Kong's democracy

May 5, 1995

A student is suing Hong Kong's urban council for $66 (about Pounds 4.50) after claiming he missed a film because of a mix-up over his ticket for the International Film Festival, organised by the municipal authority.

Chan Yiu-fong, 36, a student at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, says he wants to see "if democracy really works in Hong Kong".

Chan said he bought a ticket at the student rate of $21 to see the Chinese film, Ermo, earlier this month. But when he arrived, cinema staff refused to let him in, saying discounted rates were available only for the elderly, the disabled and Hong Kong students.

They said Chan did not fit into any of these categories.

Chan claimed he was told he could pay an extra $21 for a seat but by the time the mix-up had been solved, the show had started.

When he demanded his money back, staff refused to reimburse him. Chan has filed a small claims petition against the urban council, charging breach of contract and discrimination. The humanities student is claiming $21 for his ticket, $15 travelling expenses from his home and $30 court fees.

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