Squeeze on Hidden Agenda bands

Local | Sum Lok-kei 18 May 2017

Two foreign bands, due to play at indie music venue Hidden Agenda, were forced to cancel their gig after being intercepted by immigration officers.

Members of Finnish band Insomnium and Orpheus Omega from Australia were "detained" by the Immigration Department while trying to enter Hong Kong via the Shenzhen Bay Port at 1pm yesterday, Hidden Agenda said.

The "death metal" musicians had performed in Beijing and Shenzhen before coming to Hong Kong, and were due to participate in a private event among friends to exchange views on music, said Hidden Agenda, which operates a music venue in Kwun Tong.

It said their performance was not open to the public and only for invited guests.

The musicians were cleared at 3pm and entered Hong Kong, but they were made to sign an undertaking not to perform here, prompting the cancellation of their gig, Hidden Agenda said.

"We feel sorry for all of you who love Insomnium and Orpheus Omega. However, we don't want to put the two bands in trouble. We hope you would understand our difficult situation," its statement read.

Insomnium and Orpheus Omega are performing in Taipei and Japan later this week.

The Immigration Department said it does not comment on individual cases.

This is the second run-in this month between Hidden Agenda and the department.

On May 8, three members of British band This Town Needs Guns and American multi-instrumentalist Mylets were arrested by immigration officers after performing at Hidden Agenda.

They were held on suspicion of illegal employment, but were allowed to leave Hong Kong as no charges were laid against them.

Civic Party legislator Tanya Chan Suk-chong, who helped the musicians held on May 8, was surprised by the latest incident.

She said it would have been more appropriate to warn musicians against taking up employment without work permits instead of treating them "like criminals."

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