Link the Distastes: Netizens lambasted the Link REIT’s latest promotion on nostalgic taste “Link the Tastes”

Two days ago, a netizen posted a picture of a nostalgic themed promotional paper stand inside Hang Yuen Cafe of Shatin Lek Yuen Plaza, which is one of the many shopping centres under the Link REIT, on her Facebook.

李: The Link REIT, please stop this disgusting act!

Our good old mom and pop stores were forced to demolish by you. Now, this nostalgic culture and memory campaign turns my stomach. Go to hell!

Her comment, photo, and the Link REIT’s latest promotion Facebook page , “Link the Tastes“, stimulated anger among netizens. The following is the cover of the restaurant guide for shopping centres under them.

Our Taste Searching Time

The Link

Siu-yee (*a radio and TV host) and Walter Kei (*a wine and dine critic) shuttled back and forth between the Link’s shopping centres

Searching and visiting time-honoured brands in the hidden world. Finding regional cuisines.
Relishing generation bonds inside public housings. Savouring tastes of snacks

Just Another Store HK-In search for small stalls in Hong Kong” posted all the pages of the restaurant guide and named the album “Searching taste…tomb?”

Life Affects Life

Dai Pai Dong (Big License Stall)
The Shining Era

Map of the Link REIT’s Shopping Centres taken from their app. Most of them are inside public housings.

Messages from “Link the Tastes”

Cheung: After the control of the Link, Tin Yiu Shopping Centre near my home was renamed “Tin Yiu Plaza” to enhance (its image) and many chain stores were introduced – Super Super Congee and Noodles and Yeh Lam Restaurant. Together with big chains that have already been here, Maxims and McDonald, there are no old stores at all! There is no big license stalls, not even Hong Kong-style restaurants! May I ask where can I find these tastes? Stores inside The Link’s shopping centres are all the same, same taste. It’s still the same taste after going to 100 restaurants. It is really search your a**!

Eric: There is no need to search. (The Link) drives out mom and pop stores. Now, you tell me to search taste. Go to hell! Originally, the shopping centre of Leung King was fine and your modification is bad. It has now became a place that sells famous brands. Snack shops that I always went to when I was in primary school, Hong Kong style-restaurant and Cantonese restaurant were all f**king closed down! There is no f**king childhood memory left to search. F**k!

Vincent: Give back the wet market to residents of Choi Yuen Estate. It was demolished in July 2010 due to modification and later rebuilt to became a shopping centre. The ground floor has PARKnSHOP Superstore, which was opened in April 29th 2011, and Wellcome Superstore, which was opened in May 27th 2011. If one wants to buy vegetables, one has to go to either PARKnSHOP or Wellcome. What’s the point of searching when the market is gone! Search your a**?

何: The shopping centre below my home is almost empty. My childhood toy store was closed down. There is no Cantonese restaurant and a bowling alley is about to be built. (The Link) uses modification as excuse to expel stores inside wet market. F**k!

Kwan: The Link you go to hell. All the mon and pop stores in my estate died and only restaurant chains are robbing money – one meal costs 40 dollars. You go to hell the Link.

Ken: The biggest profiteer in Hong Kong – evil the Link. Recently, there is a funny campaign called “searching taste”, that is finding the taste of nostalgia inside the Link’s shopping centres. This time, it is really searching your a**. Under crazy rent increases of the Link and the threats of big chains, genuine time-honoured stores were killed. What remain are McDonald’s, Maxim’s, Cafe de Carol and Fairwood. The Link is really a bastard. Go to Hell. “Searching taste”? Search your a**

Fung: (The Link) f**king drove out all the time-honoured stores and tells us to find them? Don’t tell me that you have time machine? F**k!

Cheuk: F**k you the Link. You take away many Hongkongers’ collective memories. Holding this kind of campaign to improve image? Putting the cart before the horse…Retard

Wyatt: Inhuman the Link hold a campaign to cherish nostalgic stores? Hey, this is the prime example of crocodile tears. Actually, is this book for the top of the Link, “Right, we have not killed these old stores yet…” Like this?

Lo: How can they be so shameless that they say serving communities is their first priority. Post offices, clinics, and other service facilities etc have to move far away or to the top floor. And (the Link) can’t stop raising rents and makes unique mon and pop stores disappear. We have to eat expensive trash – among the cost of a 16-dollar milk tea, 13 dollar is for rent. Public housings’ residents and grassroots have to buy expensive foods and even a tenant committed suicide. It’s sad that some citizens hold the share of the Link and the profits shut them down. This is the trump card of the Link.

The above newspaper article was shared crazily in “Link the Tastes”.

2009.07.28 Oriental Daily

(The link) broke its word and raised rents. (The representative of tenants) was indignant that he was betrayed.

Using death to accuse the Link. The representative committed suicide by jumping from his home.

Crazy rent increases, cold-blooded layoffs, inhuman evictions…Ever since the Link took over all the public housings’ shopping centres in Hong Kong, its covetous business model has always been castigated. Recently, a tenant even used death to accuse the Link! Lok Fu Plaza has been under modification since 2006. An owner of a Hong Kong-style cafe represented tenants to negotiate with the Link and was promised that there would be no big rent increases. However, when tenants returned to operation this year, the Link went back on its word. Not only did the Link raise rents crazily, but it also didn’t provide enough promotions and facilities. An owner of a Hong Kong-style cafe, who had always been dedicated to serving the community,  felt guilty and committed suicide by jumping from his home this month, using death to accuse the Link that it had betrayed small business!

CK: Actually, which groups do public housings’ shopping centres serve, public housings’ residents or investment fund that squeezes hard earned money out of public housings’ residents?

The banner of “Link the Tastes” was doctored to become

Search Your A**

Raymond: We want to get back the old taste of pre-the Link era!

Netizens even create a spreadsheet called “List of stores that were persecuted by the Link

List of stores that were prosecuted by the Link

Some stories from the persecution list

Region: Shatin

Estate: Mei Lam Estate

Store’s name: Kam Shing Restaurant

News/source/incident: Kam Shing Restaurant, which had been operated for 30 years, was suddenly shut down yesterday. About 20 employees didn’t receive payment in lieu of notice, terminate pay and long service payment, the estimated total is about $400,000 to $500,000. An affected employee said that the lease of the restaurant was going to be terminated in the end of the month and the boss had revealed that the Link raised the rent by 60%.

Store’s history: Over 30 years

Ways of persecution: 60% rent increase

Region: Sheung Shui

Estate: Choi Yuen Estate (Exit C of Sheung Shui Station)

Store’s name: Leun Hop Hing Toys

News/source/incident: The store was shut down around the end of Aug 2009.

Store’s history: Over 25 years

Ways of persecution: Unaffordable rent increase

The source of above photos is from a thread that discussed taking photos of Leun Hop Hing Toys in early Aug 2009. (*HKGOLDEN deleted all the threads before 2011 due to legal problems and this is from a backup site.)

夏泰勇: Even this store has to be closed down…This store gives me lots of memories….However, my memories are fewer and fewer. :~(

難兄難弟: Tomorrow, I am going to take some photos. F**k! I bought (toys) from here from 3 to 10 years old. Now, even though I am in my twenties, I still remember that I stole my father’s money to buy Digivice.

Photos taken by him

魔間妹頭: In fact, the modification of the shopping centre is just for the introduction of big companies. Small business want to open stores? Pay expensive rents. The shopping centre is transformed badly – useless stores are opened. I would rather stick with what it used to be.

瞭解而且繼續: Shopping centres are being molded. Faces are being molded. Everything is being molded.

膠力充沛: If small business can’t keep their business, then citizens will have no choices. The prices of other chain stores are expensive. Besides, Choi Yuen has many elderly. They don’t have much money. What will their lives become that time? It’s really helpless :~(

我愛鄧紫棋: It is all because of the Link.

Photos of the enhanced Choi Yuen Plaza from the Link

The Link Reit just terminated “Link the Tastes”

Promotion page “Link the Tastes” is deleted.

The Link REIT CEO on CNBC responding to the criticism on  “Link the Tastes” campaign

I think we recognised over the weekend as we have stopped that campaign, that any focus on the nostalgic elements is probably not too appropriate for the link REIT, giving  the current circumstances. At the same time, on the issue itself, we’ve seen occupancy rate increasing. We’ve seen the retention rate increasing. We’ve seen a lot of these small shops are doing well. In fact, the  number of small shops, less than 1000 sq. ft, not operated by any of the chains, has  increased about 13% since IPO.


Wan Chin (a Hong Kong scholar) : When the Link REIT gave the number of small business, the host should have immediately questioned , “What about the past number (*before IPO)? Is the number of small business increased or decreased? (*compared with the number of small business before IPO)” However, the host did not do it.

Wan Chin also responded to the speech of the host “Fair enough, for me, it’s not a charity. It’s a business. This is Hong Kong after all.”

Wan Chin: What the link REIT doing is not business but politics. Many Hong Kong monopolistic corporations aren’t doing business.

(Continue) Many monopolistic corporations are in fact doing politics in Hong Kong. Only doing politics, setting up collusion with the government, these corporations can gain high profits without doing real business.

On April 20th 2012, Apple Daily reported a story of a Chinese medicine doctor who was denied contract renewal for his clinic even though he was willing to pay 100% rent increase.


5 thoughts on “Link the Distastes: Netizens lambasted the Link REIT’s latest promotion on nostalgic taste “Link the Tastes”

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