Hong Kong’s Hidden Agenda to close by the end of October

A pot of incense on the stage at Hidden Agenda in Kwun Tong. Photo: Hidden Agenda via Facebook
A pot of incense on the stage at Hidden Agenda in Kwun Tong. Photo: Hidden Agenda via Facebook

Underground music venue Hidden Agenda has announced it will shut its doors to the public at the end of this month.

A statement published on the venue’s Facebook page on Saturday said: “Because the government’s new policies still fail to bring about a new situation for users of industrial buildings, we will return the unit to the landlord on the 30th of this month.”

The statement also added that the landlord has treated them well, and thanked concert-goers for their support over the years. It added that two other concerts due to take place will be moved to other venues.

Hidden Agenda was founded by Hui Chung-wo in 2009, and has been a staple of Hong Kong’s underground music scene for years, hosting hundreds of local and international artists. It moved to its current location – an industrial building in Kwun Tong – late last year.

The fate of the live house has been hanging in the balance for months after run-ins with the authorities including the Lands Department, the Immigration Department, and the Food and Environmental Hygeine Department.

Hidden Agenda has been operating under a food factory license since it moved to Kwun Tong. However, they have come under scrutiny from the FEHD for breaching the conditions of their lease and license.

According to Hong Kong Free Press, the venue does not have a public entertainment licence as it is located in an industrial building.

In May, police arrested seven people for alleged visa violations after raiding the venue. The people arrested included British band TTNG and American musician Mylets after Immigration Department workers accused them of working as “illegal immigrants” after failing to secure appropriate visas.

Hui, as well as a live house staff member and an audience member, were also arrested. Hui was also charged with obstructing public officers in carrying out their duties, aiding and abetting breach of conditions of stay, employing illegal workers, failing to inspect the identity documents of illegal workers, and failing to keep employees’ records.

Fans of the indie music venue took to the establishment’s Facebook page to express their anger and sadness over the announcement.

One commenter said: “thank you guys for holding some wonderful shows”. Another said they were “very sad and angry” at the announcement, adding “every time you see a show at HA there is a good feeling and atmosphere, and you can even hang out with the artists.”

It is not clear if the live house will find a new location.

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