A top online gamer from Hong Kong who was expelled from an international eSports tournament after showing support for the city’s protest movement said on Tuesday he has no regrets.
Ng Wai Chung, who represents the Asia-Pacific region under the name Blitzchung, had just won a crucial match at the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament when he exclaimed in Mandarin “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” during a livestreamed interview with hosts in Taipei.
Hearthstone is a hugely popular online card game in which two opponents take turns to deploy different characters with different abilities to try to defeat each other.
The 21-year-old university student, who was wearing eye goggles and a gas mask — equipment frequently used by protesters in Hong Kong — pulled down his respirator to broadcast his message.
The online stream was cut off mid-interview shortly afterwards and the video has since been taken down.
Ng told AFP he was not surprised at being kicked out of the competition, but said: “I don’t regret saying that stuff. And even now, I don’t regret it at all.”
The Hong Konger said he had been distracted by the sometimes-violent unrest in his home city over the past four months.
“Quite a number of large-scale protests overlapped the competition time,” he said. “Sometimes, I couldn’t focus on the competition.”
The makers of Hearthstone, Blizzard Entertainment, wrote in a statement Ng had broken their rules and said he will not receive any prize money — US$10,000 according to Ng — and will be banned from Hearthstone eSports for a year.
Those rules say players must not engage in acts that bring themselves into “public disrepute”, offend anybody or damage the developer’s image.
The video game industry last year generated more than $135 billion globally — $43.4 billion of that in the United States alone.
Ng said his removal from the competition was “a pity” after spending four years in eSports.