Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars has star-studded opening in 2004 with Jet Li, Sammo Hung in attendance – from the SCMP archive

On this day | Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars has star-studded opening in 2004 with Jet Li, Sammo Hung in attendance – from the SCMP archive

A star-studded event marked the opening of a new attraction in Tsim Sha Tsui’s harbourfront on April 27, 2004. We look at the Post’s coverage of the ceremony and the reception from its first visitors after the public opening.

Stars leave their mark on promenade

Amid fireworks and dancing light beams, the HK$40 million Avenue of Stars on the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade was launched by government officials and film industry professionals.

A total of 73 big names, including martial arts stars Jet Li and Sammo Hung, veteran Wu Fung martial arts master Yuen Wo-ping and director Ann Hui Onwah have had their handprints set into the promenade.

International movie star Jet Li was among the big names who attended the opening ceremony on April 27, 2004. Photo: K. Y. Cheng
Actor and martial artist Sammo Hung poses in front of his handprint during the Avenue of Stars launching ceremony. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

The Tourism Board estimates that about 500,000 people will visit the site each month. A large golden statue – an enlarged version of the Hong Kong Film Awards statuette – stands alongside the 440-metre strip that serves as the city’s version to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

Avenue visitors hand it to the stars

By Elaine Wu

After hovering over dozens of handprints on the Avenue of Stars for more than half an hour, housewives Kwok Yin-line and Tang Yuwah reached a verdict. Actor Andy Lau Tak-wah has the best handprint.

“It’s really cool that you can see the queues on his palm,” Ms Kwok said. “I really admire him for that. He has very nice hands. The queues are very clear and not messy at all.”

After launching the 440-metre Avenue of Stars this week, many gathered at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront to place their hands over the prints of their favourite stars.

The HK$40 million project, which is Hong Kong’s answer to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, features autographs and handprints from directors, producers and movie stars such as Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

Deceased idols, including Bruce Lee, Anita Mui Yim-fong and Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, are also represented with a plate.

“It’s really cool you can see the queues on Andy Lau’s palm”
Kwok Yin-line, Avenue of Stars first-day visitor

While locals marvelled at their idols’ signature plates, tourists from the mainland to Poland to the US wondered who the stars were.

“I don’t know any of them,” said Liu Yang, a regular visitor from Shenzhen. “But I like Hong Kong. Every time I come here I have to go to the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront and Lan Kwai Fong for a drink. I like the atmosphere there.”

Dora Kawycz, a model from Germany who was visiting Hong Kong for the first time, echoed Mr Liu’s thoughts.

“I don’t know all the stars, but if I did, I would put my hands on the print just like other people are doing,” she said.

Los Angeles native Daniel Rosenberg, who lives in Hong Kong, said: “I think it’s probably going to work better with mainland tourists. Most of the Western tourists don’t know the Hong Kong movie stars other than Jackie Chan.”

A visitor examines autographs and handprints. Photo: Martin Chan
Locals and tourists wander along the 440-metre Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui on April 28, 2004. Photo: Martin Chan

Hong Kong and mainland tourists certainly feature heavily in the Tourist Board’s own estimates. The board’s executive director Clara Chong Ming-wah yesterday predicted about half a million people a year would visit the avenue – 70 per cent of them Hongkongers.

The figure was more than three times the 150,000 figure the board gave – despite earlier industry warnings that inbound travel agents knew little about the project.

Some industry figures have also doubted the pulling potential of the project.

A special fireworks show as part of the Symphony of Lights will run from Saturday until May 9, with the avenue touted as one of the best viewing spots.



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