Freedom Ball: Fighting the fun ban with big red balls

Freedom Ball: Fighting the fun ban with big red balls

Advocacy group Freedom Ball takes a stand against the city's rigid park rules with their protest stunt, "The Big One"
freedom ball
No fun policy: Model boats are not usually allowed in parks in Hong Kong.

Cheeky campaigners Freedom Ball are set on changing the way we interact with parks in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s 1,470 government-managed parks and sitting-out areas are kept in order by a barricade of strict regulations which include bans on playing ball, walking dogs, skateboarding, playing music and racing model cars.

Apart from elderlies practicing tai chi at the crack of dawn and gossiping on park benches for the rest of the day, there’s not much going on in Hong Kong parks.

Freedom Ball's latest and biggest campaign, “The Big One,” will take on several park rules.

"What we do is pretty simple really, we turn up at a park with up to 1,000 huge red balls, put them in the park and stand back and see what happens!" said David Biddlecombe, the man behind Freedom Ball. "People will be playing in the park, challenging the park rules and we’ll be interviewing people to find out what they think about park design, management and regulation in Hong Kong."

Similar stunts in the past have met with absolute delight from kids and parents. Not from park security. In Kowloon Park last year, guards tried to stop kids from playing with the balls because they were too big and too dangerous. 

"(Since Freedom Ball launched in April 2008) the Leisure and Cultural Services Department have said they're willing to change, and there have been some changes. The new park in Ap Lei Chau has a small piece of open grass that people can sit on, for example. But there's still a long way to go," Biddlecombe said. 


Getting there

Freedom Ball's "The Big One"
November 22
Sha Tin Park
2 Yuen Wo Road, Sha Tin