Football

Hong Kong fined for Chinese anthem booing in Asian Cup qualifier

Hong Kong have been fined US$3,000 (S$4,040) after fans jeered the Chinese national anthem during an Asian Cup qualifying match last month, the third time they have been punished for booing.

Fans have taken to booing the anthem as concerns grow that semi-autonomous Hong Kong's freedoms are under threat from Beijing.

Despite appeals for restraint and a large police presence, fans booed during the "March of the Volunteers", the anthem the city shares with China, during last month's match against Lebanon.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) disciplinary and ethics committee said in a statement that repeated violations would receive "more severe punishment".

Local legislation is now pending to punish those deemed to have disrespected the anthem after Beijing pushed for tougher penalties.

Booing has become common during the anthem at matches since the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement rallies of 2014, which failed to win concessions on political reform.

Fans have also previously turned their backs and displayed Hong Kong independence banners during matches. - AFP

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