A Hong Kong Newspaper Vendor Beaten for Failling to Speak Mandarin

According to April 14th 2012 Oriental Daily,

Doesn’t speak Mandarin. The son of a newsstand owner was beaten.

An assault happened in Tsim Sha Shui East. The son of a newsstand owner, who is 23 years old, was working in her mother’s newsstand yesterday morning. Two Mandarin speaking men came to the newsstand to buy cigarettes, however, it was suspected that there was a communication problem, and the two men left with dissatisfaction. Later, they came back with three women, beat the owner’s son and fled.

The crime scene is a newsstand on the ground floor of Houston Centre in Mody Road. It operates 24 hours a day. Besides selling newspapers and magazines, it also sells cigarettes and beverages etc. Yesterday night, the 55-year-old female newsstand owner, whose last name is Sham, and her 23-year-old son, whose last name is Ho, were operation the stall.

Mainland Chinese costumers failed to buy cigarettes and became angry.

2 a.m in the morning, two Mandarin speaking men who are in their 20s came to the newsstand and wanted to buy cigarettes. However, Ho could not understand and therefore did not sell them cigarettes and told them to leave.

An hour later, two men came back with three women. Some picked up plastic rulers that are used to keep newspapers in place to attack Ho’s head. Ho’s mother saw it and helped her son. Mrs Ho called the police and paramedics sent Ho to the hospital. Mrs. Ho suffered minor injuries during the mess.

Netizen Jacky Lim interviewed the owner of the newsstand.

Early morning yesterday, Mainland Chinese customers assaulted a newspaper vendor in a newsstand on the ground floor of Houston Centre in Mody Square. A twenty-something newspaper vendor who doesn’t speak Mandarin didn’t know that his Mainland Chinese customers wanted to buy packets of cigarettes, and the tourists regard him as disrespectful and even discriminating. Therefore, they used violence to revenge him. The injured newspaper vendor was sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital to have injuries examined. He was discharged from the hospital after receiving treatments.


Yesterday, I went to the scene to understand the course of events. According to Mrs Ho, that night, two Mainland Chinese men came out from the Karaoke bar on the opposite side of the newsstand and wanted to buy Kent cigarettes. However, at that time, she wasn’t there. Her son didn’t understand their Mandarin request and so rejected it. Then, they left. Soon afterwards, they came back with three women who are  in their 20s and took revenge. Mrs Ho had returned to the newsstand and saw two Mainland Chinese men couldn’t stop insulting her son that he discriminated against them and doesn’t speak Mandarin. Next, they beat him. During the quarrel and the fight, the three accompanying women, who can speak local Cantonese, didn’t try to stop them and even critcised Mr Ho for discriminating against Mainland Chinese.

Mrs Ho understands that Tsim Sha Tsui is a tourist area and has prepared to handle communication difficulties. She has pens and papers in her stall so that when both sides can’t understand each other they can communicate with writings. It had worked fine for so many years. She is surprised that failing to understand Mainland Chinese language brings violence. Mrs Ho even said, “If both sides can’t understand, then use writing. In the end, you can point to the packet of cigarettes you want. Don’t need to use violence. Is it really like what Kong Qingding said, those who don’t speak Mandarin are dogs?”

Netizens’ reactions

被神遺忘的人: Who is the real Nazi?

很想有蝦條: Hong Kong really needs a riot.

優質會員: The era that those who don’t speak Mandarin have to be beaten started

AlwaysFail: Rubbish Locusts

墨先生: If one doesn’t want to be beaten, one has to learn fluent Mandarin.

戴住手套打jj: (*he replied to 墨先生) Even if one speaks Mandarin, one will still be beaten.

Alex_Song: No wonder some stores automatically switched to use Simplified Chinese.

畢特來: Learn good Mandarin to protect safety

淫審處女職員: It’s like the period of 3 years and 8 months (*the time that Japanese occupied Hong Kong during WW2) that one had to speak Japanese.

大鬼: (he replied to 淫審處女職員)  Now, (the occupation) is more than 3 years and 8 months. It is an endless rape.

膠人: F**k you Mainlander. Hong Kong is Cantonese speaking originally. You beat people because they don’t speak your foreign language. Even if you have money, you are still be uncultured low-class humans.

lucent: In the future, those who don’t speak locust language will be executed.

jimmy: F**k. Now Mainlanders are obviously bullying us Hongkongers. F**k

Catherine: It is all because of Hong Kong traitors!

Niffy: Hong Kong residents have to be more resistant. Speak Cantonese in your own sphere of control, especially when you see Strong Country people.

Tim: This is how brutal invaders act towards the invaded. Random beating is just a trivial case. Next step will cost human lives and this is worrying.

Chu: What a good beating! Inside the territory of the Chinese Communist Party, you still don’t learn the dialect of the CCP. He deserves to be beaten. Unless you have ways to get away from the evil claws of the CCP or make CCP goes away, you should learn simplified Chinese and Mandarin quickly. Otherwise, you will be beaten whenever you see Mainlanders.

Snowy: Sigh, Hong Kong is becoming stranger and stranger. Actually, is there any others who dare to speak for Hongkongers?

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18 thoughts on “A Hong Kong Newspaper Vendor Beaten for Failling to Speak Mandarin

  1. Was planning to get a casual/part time job in Hong Kong during the holidays….. looks like I’ll be beaten up since I only know Cantonese and English…

    • We would be giving ourselves a life-time job that would pass on to several generations before we can ‘beat up’ every single Mainlander, haha.

    • Absolutely right. Since when do guests tell the host what to do? Hongkongers need to understand this is their city and others be it from Europe, USA or Mainland China are only Guests! Be proud of your own heritage and defend it. That\’s how all cities in the world do. A Londoner considers himself a Londoner first and as an Englishman only second place and only then on third place as a British. It\’s not political, it\’s pride in tradition and culture. Without it you\’re not a human, but an animal. So, there\’s nothing wrong to defend Cantonese and to make foreigners (including Mainlanders) feel like guests, because they are guests indeed. It\’s nothing political. Hongkongers, wake up!

  2. We do not know the full story, I really don’t think they would beat someone up just for not being able to speaking Mandarin. Why bother coming back later. Some HK people can be quite obnoxious to those who do not speak Cantonese and Mainlanders have real anger management issues and often they respond to face loosing incidents by getting way too aggressive. Look what happened on the MTR.

    Anyway how hard is it to buy a packet of cigarettes here with no Cantonese, point at the pack, then the vendor shows you the commonly understood Chinese hand gestures for numbers, or writes the price down on a piece of paper – bingo.

  3. This is bloody BS. You don’t come to someone’s country and expect them to speak your language.
    You respect the country and their locals, don’t be a bloody asshole just because they can’t speak your language, if you don’t like that, gtfo out of HK or anywhere you disrespected.

  4. The only motive of being beaten for purely not understanding mandarin is highly implausible. The child abduction stories you ran before were also dubious. I think this blog is overly biased in its choice of newstories too.

    For example, CY Leung the other day said he had plans to prevent mainland women obtaining residency rights for their babies born in HK hospitals. Yet surprise surprise, you ignored the story because it doesn’t conform to the netizen’s agenda of portraying CY leung as nothing but a tool of the CCP.

  5. @bbczeitgeist
    this site generally don’t rehash new stories available to every newspaper in HK. This site generally focus on materials that HK-ers cares more (than politicians)

    I think your statement is flawed and biased for CCP and even suspicious you are a 50-maoer.

    PRC chinese don’t need motives to beat up people in China. Given how the CCP whipping up nationalistic propaganda, I am surprised incidents like the above doesn’t occur more often in HK by PRC chinese.

    If I have a business in HK, I would refuse service to (or refuse purchas from) ANY PRC-citizen (or anyone) if they are abusive and not civil (even if costing me sales.)

    PRC China needs to realize they don’t run the world and can’t dictate their agenda on everyone.

  6. i have tried to “discuss” cantonese in HK with some mainlanders. you know what they think?

    …HK ppl should speak in Putonghua with mainlanders when they are in HK. mainlanders do not have to “respect” local language as it is only a dialect. PTH is the the language in China, so HK ppl should speak it. …

    what has happened to our hkSAR? no more “special administration” no more local culture. no more HK?

    • Not all Hong Kong people are Chinese, like me for example… I’m only half Chinese from my Hong Kong dad and British/Scottish from my mum but I consider myself an Hong Konger. I speak Cantonese and English at home, so mainlanders wouldn’t want to force every HK person who is non-Chinese or only half Chinese to speak their Putongua.

      BESIDES….. I read Cantonese is actually an much older language than Mandarin. The truth is Mandarin is also an dialect and was due to the result of Manchu influence and pronunciation which means is not even an real Chinese language. Cantonese is only called dialect for political purposes.

      • Well said. Very well said.

        And also, I think it is very stupid to be harping on about a language being a dialect. So what? People speak it… end of story!

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