Hong Kong fans angered by Pak supporter in Laden mask

Published: Tuesday, November 5, 2002, 22:12 [IST]
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Hong Kong: Cricket fans have expressed anger with the organisers of the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes after a Pakistan supporter was allowed to parade in front of the stands in an Osama Bin Laden mask. In a letter to the editor published in Tuesday's 'South China Morning Post' reader Nick Sawyer, a Briton, denounced the failure of the stewards at last weekend's event to take action against the mask-wearing man. "The fact that spectators can be stopped from entering the ground carrying a single apple ... and yet others were allowed in with bin Laden masks or T-shirts is outrageous," Sawyer wrote. "And I know I'm not alone in saying that I will never attend the Hong Kong Sixes tournament again." During Sunday's final between England and Pakistan, a Pakistan supporter wearing a Bin Laden mask and waving a Pakistani flag paraded in front of the stands where British and Australian supporters were seated. Beer cans were thrown and insults exchanged with Pakistani fans before order was restored. Pakistan went on to win the match, organised by the Hong Kong Cricket Association. Another Briton, Simon Brown, told the 'Post' he found it disgraceful that the fan was allowed to wear the mask in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and the October 12 bombing in Bali, Indonesia, which cost the lives of a number of Hong Kong residents. Tournament director Clive Howard defended the decision not to remove the mask- wearing fan and said the match was almost over when it was brought to his attention. "I would find it difficult to justify removing this guy in the midst of 500 screaming Pakistani fans without (US President) George Bush behind me," he told the 'Post'.

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