Police probe Penang restaurant for alleged propaganda over Mao Zedong wallpaper

Interior of Xiang Ge Li La in Penang. Photo: Restoran Xiang Ge Li La/Facebook
Interior of Xiang Ge Li La in Penang. Photo: Restoran Xiang Ge Li La/Facebook

A Chinese cuisine restaurant decorated with communist-themed wallpaper was raided by the police on Saturday for allegedly spreading propaganda. 

The wallpaper at the Xiang Ge Li La restaurant in Penang’s Icon City road was designed with images of the late communist party leader Mao Zedong as well as caricatures of other figures donning the signature green communist uniforms. Police told reporters over the weekend that the wallpaper has been removed from the outlet as well as the restaurant’s other branch in Pulau Tikus. Four cups designed with images of Mao were also seized. 

The owner of the restaurant was serving COVID-19 quarantine when the raid took place, police said, adding that they had acted on a tip-off. A 23-year-old store manager was arrested instead. 

The restaurant is being investigated for possibly putting up materials serving as propaganda or materials intended to cause alarm to the public.

Videos circulating online showed officers stripping the wallpaper off one of the restaurant’s walls. 

The wife of the 41-year-old restaurant owner told The Star that the wallpaper was for decoration purposes.

“I would have taken down the wallpaper if it was deemed sensitive,” the unidentified woman was quoted as saying. She added that customers would take photos against the wallpaper. 

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