Two iconic lion sculptures at the entrance of HBSC’s headquarters in Central have reappeared in public after they were vandalised by anti-government protesters on New Year’s day.
The hoarding around the two bronze lion statues, known as Stephen and Stitt, was removed in a ceremony on Thursday morning, after the bank said the statues had undergone “a first round of cleaning”.
The event was attended by HSBC’s deputy chairman, Peter Wong, and the chief executive of HSBC Hong Kong, Diana Cesar.
“Stephen and Stitt have watched over HSBC Main Building for 85 years. Through good times and bad, they have been an enduring part of Hong Kong’s story. Many customers, employees and the general public told us how much they missed the lions," said Wong
"So we decided to put them back on display following the first phase of restoration. When the work is complete, they will look as impressive as ever”, he said.
Stephen and Stitt were spray-painted and briefly set alight by anti-government protesters who were unhappy with the British bank’s decision to close an account linked to last year's pro-democracy movement.
In a statement, HSBC said there has only been a basic restoration so far as overseas experts have been unable to travel to Hong Kong due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It said a comprehensive restoration programme will be conducted in phases.
The roaring Stephen and the calm Stitt have stood at the Des Voeux Road entrance of the bank since 1935.
They are often seen as symbols of growth and prosperity for Hong Kong and a lucky charm for the bank, so much so that HSBC is known by many Hongkongers as the “lion bank”.
HSBC lions reappear after months behind hoardings
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