The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) has become the latest organization to be impacted by Hong Kong’s political unrest after being forced to cancel Wednesday night’s race meeting at Happy Valley racecourse.
The cancellation follows recent comments made by lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, who is part-owner of a horse scheduled to race on Wednesday named Hong Kong Bet, supporting the actions of pro-establishment activists filmed attacking protestors in Yuen Long in July. Those comments prompted a local Hong Kong group to call for Ho to be stripped of his HKJC membership and for Hong Kong Bet to be withdrawn from all future meets.
HKJC resisted those calls, but in a media statement issued a just a few hours before Wednesday’s meet was due to start said it had conducted a thorough risk assessment and concluded the meet should be cancelled for the safety and security of people and horses.
“Our concerns are tied to potential social unrest in the vicinity tonight, the very real threat of a disturbance or possible violence at Happy Valley Racecourse, and uncertainty regarding transportation in and around Happy Valley and Causeway Bay for racegoers, jockeys and employees and horses entering or leaving the racecourse throughout the evening,” a HKJC spokesperson said.
“This is a very difficult and most unfortunate decision to make, but public safety is of paramount importance to the Club. We hope the racing community and the Hong Kong public will understand our reasons for doing so.”