Cantopop singer Leon Lai-ming was forced to call off the first of his eight concerts in Hong Kong last night - just two hours before showtime after the huge blue marquee was deemed a fire risk.
The show, "Leon 30th Anniversary Random Love Songs 4D in live 2016," was due to begin at 8pm at the Central Harbourfront on Lung Wo Road in Central. Ticket prices range d from HK$980 to HK$3,000.
Tonight's show could also be in jeopardy, along with the other six concerts that were set for consecutive days until May 7 to mark Lai's 30 years in show business.
The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department refused to issue a Temporary Places of Public Entertainment Licence for the show to start and advised the organizer to make appropriate arrangements.
Tsang Tat-ming, senior divisional officer of the Fire Services Department, said department officials had been inspecting the venue and had been in touch with the organizer since February.
The department found out two days before the show that the 4,500-capacity marquee set up at the venue did not comply with the British standards for fire retardancy and that a fire-resistant liquid approved by the department was not applied.
Fearing the heat released by stage lights could cause a fire, the department decided not to issue the license to the organizer.
In a statement two hours before the concert, FEHD said the organizers had yet to comply with the relevant fire safety requirements.
At around 6.30pm, Lai posted a video and apologized on Facebook to the hundreds of fans for the sudden cancellation, promising to make up for their loss.
One female fan, who had been looking forward to attending the concert for a month, said she was very upset about the cancellation.
Another said it was unacceptable that the government decided at the last minute that it was not going to issue the license as the stage had been set up for a long time.
A long-time fan, surnamed Cheung, who spent HK$2,000 for two tickets, said: "I am surprised and disappointed. Why can't the government adopt special measures for tackling special situations?"
But Lai urged his fans not to blame the government.
"Though the material is fireproof, it's made in China, which is different from the one [made] in the UK we will make it more clear when we rewrite the proposal, " Lai said.
"It's not the fault of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. I want to apologize to [all of you] again."
Offenders under the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance are liable to a maximum fine of HK$25,000 and six months' imprisonment, plus a daily fine of HK$2,000.