Video clips of two men arguing with a couple from China’s mainland after their toddler relieved herself in a Hong Kong street caused a stir online.
One clip begins with a picture of a toddler squatting while the mother holds a diaper at the child’s bottom.
Then it skips to the couple arguing with a young man in a gray T-shirt speaking in Cantonese.
The woman keeps asking the local man: “What do you want me to do?”
Her husband grabs the man’s camera and during a struggle the memory card drops to the ground and the woman quickly picks it up.
The man then accuses the couple of stealing and threatens to call the police. The woman puts the diaper in a bag and the couple try to leave, saying they are not afraid, but are stopped by the man and a local woman. Throughout the incident, the toddler is crying loudly.
Another clip shows a Hong Kong man in a blue T-shirt blocking the family’s way and the stroller pushed by the mother knocking into him.
Then the man grabs the stroller, prompting the woman to hit him on the arm. The man in the gray T-shirt is filming.
Surrounded by onlookers, the woman desperately explains to the crowd that there was a long queue at the nearest public toilet, so they had no other choice but to let their child relieve herself in the street.
“The kid was about to pee in her pants, what do you want me do?” the mother asks.
Her enraged husband repeatedly asks the two men: “Do you have a kid? Do your children take pees?”
The video clip ends when a police officer arrives.
The couple were subsequently arrested on suspicion of theft and assault, the South China Morning Post reported yesterday.
The woman was released on bail and is due to report back to police in mid-May, while her husband was released unconditionally, the report said.
The man in the gray T-shirt reportedly had been taking pictures of the toddler’s private parts which was why the father had grabbed the camera.
The video clips attracted widespread attention over the weekend although the incident occurred last Tuesday.
The Hong Kong media praised the two local men as heroes who had fought against ill-mannered mainland tourists.
On the mainland, one online poll showed that while around 20,000 people disapproved of the parents, more than 115,000 expressed support for them.
While some said the parents lacked basic public decency, the majority of online users on the mainland said their behavior was understandable as they had tried to find a toilet and the mother had used a diaper to prevent a mess.
“I saw nothing improper in the parents’ behavior. They did all they could to prevent polluting the environment. On the other hand, the Hong Kong man taking pictures of the girl’s privates seems illegal,” Da Lin from Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation posted on sina.com.
Moral high ground
Other online users condemned critics of the parents for “taking the moral high ground,” adding that to expect tourists unfamiliar with the city to find a public toilet in a short space of time was over the top.
The newspaper pointed out a Hong Kong regulation that stated no one should permit a child under 12 in their care to “obey the call of nature in any public street.”
There has been tension between Hongkongers and tourists from the mainland for some time.
A clip of a mainland couple arguing with Hong Kong passengers after their child defecated in an MTR Corporation train compartment caused outrage last year.
And when some Hong Kong residents labeled mainland tourists as “locusts” and “uncivilized,” people from the mainland accused Hongkongers of discrimination.
Over the past few months the city has seen several anti-mainlander protests in crowded shopping areas, among the favorite destinations for mainland tourists, the newspaper reported.