Concerts off-key for music school director

Local | Stella Wong 11 Jul 2019

A music school director was sentenced to 80 hours of community service after an appearance at Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts yesterday.

That was because she put the faces of two renowned erhu performers on a concert promotion poster even though they had not agreed to perform.

Au Yeung Wing-kam, the 48-year-old director of the Hong Kong Music and Performing School, had plead guilty earlier to two counts of offering a service to which a false trade description was applied. She was accused of making false claims to consumers between April 30 and June 1 last year that two concerts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on June 1 and 2 that year were supported by Le French May, an annual arts festival organized by the consulate general of France in Hong Kong and Macau.

She also claimed the performers on June 2 would be Chinese erhu master Wang Guotong and son Ray Wong, whose photographs were used on the posters to promote the concert. The erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument.

Wang and Wong reported the claims to the Customs and Excise Department when they found out about them.

The school had held two concerts in cooperation with Le French May in 2017. But Le French May had last year refused to work with the institution.

Au Yeung notified the Leisure and Cultural Services Department about a need to cancel the two shows on June 1 last year, and people who had bought tickets were offered a refund. Seventy-three tickets were sold for the two concerts, involving HK$22,033.

Au Yeung told Principal Magistrate Bernadette Woo Huey-fang that she had been careless and silly.

Woo told her: "You cannot be silly again. You have to learn to be smarter."

Woo also noted that Au Yeung's financial situation was "not so satisfactory." Au Yeung had mentioned earlier that the school is a charitable organization and she receives no income as a director.

Woo said it was "very noble" for Au Yeung to organize free concerts and to use her own savings for performances, but she needed to keep her financial situation in mind.

With the report from Au Yeung's probation officers being positive, Woo sentenced her to 80 hours of community service.

The Hong Kong Music and Performing School Ltd also faced two counts of offering a service to which a false trade description was applied.

Woo fined the school HK$5,000 on each charge.

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