The only June 4 museum on Chinese soil opened in Mong Kok on Friday, greeted by protests, complaints and a false gas leak alarm.
The museum which commemorates the 1989 bloody crackdown on protesting students in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square, was shifted to the new 1,000 square foot space on the 10th floor of Ngai Wong Commercial Building after they were ousted from Tsim Sha Tsui in 2016.
But its new home is already facing hostility. Before the opening on Friday morning, about two-dozen Beijing loyalists and people who claim the museum is a safety risk staged a protest outside the premises.
One man, surnamed Ng, said his mother owns property in that building and slammed the museum organisers – the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China – for not notifying residents of the opening.
He also accused the museum of violating safety regulations.
Within just 30 minutes of the opening of the museum, firefighters arrived after receiving complaints of “gas leaks”. They left after several minutes of inspection.
The alliance’s vice-chairman, Richard Tsoi, said he believed there had been a malicious complaint: “There had been many baseless complaints lately,” he said, adding that he expects more such pranks in future.
Alliance chairman Albert Ho admitted that the reopening was no easy task. “There had been noises saying we are causing disquiet to the community, obstruction and annoyance to neighbours,” he said.
Ho rejected complaints by some local residents and said the museum is in full compliance with the law. “We undertook remedial work [after a recent vandalism incident] and put in place security works – CCTV, 24-hour security."
"There is no place for worrying or to fear,” he told RTHK's Phoebe Ng.
The new museum houses 40 exhibits, including a collection of 64 photographs from the 1989 student movement.