New HKTV station still not given licence

Above photo is Former TVB regulars Felix Wong.

Hong Kong - Mr Ricky Wong's television station has signed 220 artists, produced four series and even sent a documentary crew to an active volcano in the island nation of Vanuatu.

But about three years after the City Telecom chairman submitted an application for a free-to-air TV licence, the Hong Kong government has not granted it and the station stays grounded.

So at a star-studded preview of the station's upcoming programmes on Tuesday evening, actor Felix Wong threatened to stage a sit-in at the government's main office, said Ming Pao Daily News.

"If the government won't issue a licence, I will move to the Chief Executive's office and sit there," he said.

A total of 188 artists attended the preview and most of them, like Felix Wong, were formerly with TVB, Hong Kong's top broadcaster.

Frankie Lam, Ha Yu, Liu Kai Chi, David Chiang, Maggie Cheung Ho Yee and Bernice Liu were among the other stars present.

Besides showing clips of series including a musical and a supernatural thriller - all shot on location and not in studios - the station also announced a new name, Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV).

The station is spending HK$1.8 million (S$283,000) a month so far just to pay the employees, said Apple Daily.

With the launch held up by the government, there is talk of anxiety building up among the employees.

At a rival event on Tuesday afternoon, TVB executive Virginia Lok said some artists who had joined HKTV were hoping to "come home", reported Ming Pao.

She added that they were welcome to call her on the quiet.

But Cheung, a former TVB actress, said she liked it at the new station. "I'm so happy at work. I have eight hours of sleep every day. I have time to rest."

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