Wed, Sep 14, 2005 - Page 5 News List

HK Disney sued on opening day for poor crowd control

AFP AND AP , HONG KONG

Jubilant visitors enter the official grand opening ceremony for Hong Kong Disneyland on Monday.

PHOTO: EPA

A beaming Mickey Mouse wasn't enough to please a Hong Kong consumer activist who is suing Disney's new theme park for nearly HK$1,400 (US$179) for poor crowd management.

Hung Wah-fung filed the case in a small claims court on Monday -- the resort's opening day -- a judiciary spokeswoman said.

Hung bought four tickets for his family to the park last week on a charity day when a capacity crowd of nearly 30,000 squeezed into the 126-hectare resort, causing long lines at rides and filling restaurants and cafes.

Some also complained of waits of up to three hours for rides and meals.

"I was shocked by the poor crowd management of the park," Hung was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.

"Visitors had to spend hours in the rain queuing for rides and food. It seems that the park only wants to squeeze as many people in ... as possible in order to make money," said Hung, who has visited Disneyland in Paris and Tokyo.

"The government has invested HK$20 billion in the park and every cent of it is earned by taxpayers through hard work," he said. "However, instead of hospitality, they were treated like guinea pigs. This is intolerable."

Hung is suing for breach of service and requested that his ticket costs and transport expenses be reimbursed and given to charity.

The case will be heard on Nov. 9.

Meanwhile, newspapers in the territory yesterday slammed Chinese tourists who visited the park on on Monday for smoking in nonsmoking areas, going barefoot and letting their children urinate in public.

The Apple Daily described the behavior of mainland tourists as "disgraceful" while acknowledging that they "brought good business" to the park.

The park estimated that about a third of its 16,000 visitors on Monday were from China.

The Ming Pao Daily reported yesterday that Chinese visitors disregarded the park's rules and smoked cigarettes in restaurants and other nonsmoking areas.

It ran a photo showing a woman in a Minnie Mouse cap smoking in an open area.

The newspaper carried another photograph showing a woman from Guangdong Province helping a young child loosen his trousers to urinate beside a flower bed.

The Apple Daily had a similar photograph of a child urinating near one of the park's restaurants and another shot of four mainland women resting on the ground barefoot.

A cleaner at the park complained that there were more cigarette butts to pick up on Monday compared to pre-opening rehearsal days, when visitors were mostly Hong Kong residents, the report said.

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