Saturday, 19 October 2013

Red-Faced Hong Kong

Hollywood director Michael Bay is in Hong Kong filming Transformers 4
This morning some friends woke up very early and wandered around Central to find director Michael Bay shooting Transformers 4 in Hong Kong.

They did find him at Chater Garden and took some snaps that were uploaded on Facebook.

Later in the afternoon I just happened to see a small crew huddled in a corner across from the Bank of China building with lots of uniformed police standing around.

We're assuming there's more security after Bay, 48, was attacked by two locals trying to extort money from him in Quarry Bay earlier this week.

On his blog, Bay explained that every vendor who is inconvenienced by the filming is compensated "a fair price", but then two men made filming difficult by creating lots of noise on the set or purposely bumping into the stars.

Bay says the two demanded four times the amount of compensation and he personally refused to pay them more.

"He didn't like that answer. So an hour later he came by my crew as we were shooting, carrying a long air conditioner unit," blogged the director.

"He walked right up to me and tried to smack my face, but I ducked, threw the air unit on the floor and pushed him away."

Bay then said security tried to subdue the man, but Bay says it took seven men to do this, suggesting the extortionist was drugged up. "It was like a Zombie in Brad Pitt's movie World War Z."

Then according to Bay, the perpetrator lifted seven men and even bit into one of the guard's shoes. In the end it took 15 policemen in riot gear to control the situation.

A police spokeswoman said two brothers surnamed Mak, 27 and 28, approached Bay and demanded HK$100,000 ($12,900).

It was the elder brother who attacked Bay and was arrested on suspicion of assault, while the younger Mak was arrested for suspicion of blackmail and assault.

Bay suffered minor injuries on the right side of his face from the attack and refused medical treatment.

At the end of his blog post, Bay wrote, "After that, we had a great day shooting here in Hong Kong."

Incidents like these are so embarrassing for Hong Kong. We have ambassadors like Andy Lau Tak-wah trying to promote the city as fun and exotic, but then the positive images are thrown by the wayside when a few rotten apples crop up.

Perhaps the Hong Kong Tourism Board is bending over backwards for Bay and his crew in order to ensure this doesn't happen again. And if it isn't, it should -- We can't afford the negative publicity.

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