Long queues massed along the luxury brand mecca of Canton Road yesterday - but the last thing on their mind was shopping.
More than 1,000 people protested outside Dolce & Gabbana's elite Tsim Sha Tsui flagship, demanding an apology for alleged discrimination against locals banned from taking pictures of its storefront display.
The Italian luxury fashion brand shut its doors before 3pm as the crowds gathered, and other shops nearby were also forced to shut. About 20 police stood on guard outside.
The company issued a short, unsigned statement last night - without an apology - saying: "We wish to underline that our company has not taken part in any action aiming at offending the Hong Kong public."
This came after camera-laden protesters descended on the store taking pictures and carrying placards denouncing the store's actions.
Angry protesters chanted "Shame on you, D&G" and "Snapping pictures is our right. Banning is not your right" as passing motorists sounded horns.
"Open the door. I have money and I want to do some shopping," said one protester, holding a fistful of hell banknotes.
The protest was organized on Facebook, with the site drawing more than 15,000 "likes" since Thursday. Fury started to build last week after people, claiming they were told to leave while snapping pictures of the store from the roadside outside Harbour City, went online to vent their wrath.
A security guard reportedly said only mainland tourists were allowed to take photos outside the store, and a D&G guard allegedly threatened to break journalists' cameras if they continued to take photos.
A well-known mainlander, possibly a government official, was reportedly shopping in the store last month when he noticed people outside taking photographs. A complaint was made to D&G because the customer feared netizens would link the shopping spree to corruption. Then D&G instigated the ban. D&G's statement strongly denied making any racist or derogatory comments. "Controversial statements reported in the Hong Kong press have not been made by Dolce & Gabbana nor its staff.
"It is regrettable that Dolce & Gabbana has been brought into this matter."
Harbour City apologized on its Facebook page on Friday. D&G's store did not return calls yesterday and no one came forward to meet the protesters.
Chief executive candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen said D&G should see taking photographs outside the store as a compliment. "People take photos because they like the products. The store should welcome this instead of turning people away."
Tourism sector lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun said D&G should apologize for discriminating against locals and he will raise the issue in the Legislative Council.