Marathon organiser clarifies that it’s anti-crime

Organisers of this weekend’s Hong Kong Marathon have stressed they have zero tolerance for any breaches of the law, saying there’s no place in sporting events for any politics or slogans.

The clarification came in a statement, after lawmakers took issue with an earlier comment by organising committee chairman William Ko that there would be no restrictions on what runners can wear, and he’d see no problem with slogans such as “Hong Kong add oil”.

The statement said there had been a misunderstanding and runners are “strongly requested” to abide by the law at Sunday’s race.

“The Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates would like to emphasise that political elements and slogans should not be included in sports events. We strongly advise runners to respect the official rules and to ensure the event takes place in an orderly manner,” the statement read.

“Anyone who violates the law or breaches the official rules will be barred from participating in the event. If needed, the organiser will seek assistance from law enforcement agencies,” it added.

The statement added that runners who wear special attire or carry backpacks will have to undergo security checks in the start area.

The organisers also said they strongly condemn anyone who uses the Hong Kong Marathon “as a platform for conveying and promoting political messages”.

Sunday’s race will be the first mass participatory sporting event since the national security law was implemented last year.