Graffiti in Public Places


Dear Editor

I am writing to express my view on the recent hot issue about whether graffiti in public places should be supported or not.  I personally do not see any point in allowing graffiti in public areas.


There are three reasons why I am against it.  The first reason is that graffiti in public places is a kind of vandalism, just like what most people think.  Graffiti is seen on the outer walls of shops, bus stops, artificial hill slopes and even the walls of commercial buildings.  These are places that can be seen by all people.  It is not only the problem of being indecent but it is also invading public properties.  These sites of graffiti belong to shop owners, service providers, the government and so on.  Decisions on how to decorate these places should be made by the owners, not graffiti artists.  Those painters have no right to do anything on others’ properties.  In case an owner feels insulted by the graffiti, he has to spend a huge sum of money removing those ‘masterpieces’.  Actually, when it comes to government properties, money from taxpayers is spent to treat those paintings.  Therefore, graffiti is absolutely damaging public properties.


The second reason for opposing graffiti in public places is it tarnishes Hong Kong’s image as an international tourist spot.  For a few decades, Hong Kong has already been the destination of many foreign tourists.  To attract tourists a clean, hygienic and tidy environment is essential.  Graffiti at every corner of the city will just make this small place even messier.  As can be seen in news, much graffiti is painted on famous tourist spots such as the Star Ferry Terminal, the Big Buddha and so on.  How would the tourists feel if they saw paintings everywhere at the places which should be appreciated?  That definitely would offend tourists.  Ultimately Hong Kong’s reputation is harmed.


The last reason is always ignored by the public; graffiti in public places is illegal.  Graffiti artists are considered as criminals and may face penalties when being caught.  However, due to the hot debate on whether to allow graffiti in public spaces, these painters are often backed and not many of them are penalized.  As these graffiti painters are often teenagers, support towards illegal graffiti may inculcate wrong messages into their mind.  They may think that the consequences of invading others’ properties and breaking the laws are not as severe as they previously thought.  The problem may then be even more serious.  To support public space graffiti is to support illegal activities.


We all hope our society has a beautiful future, but not by allowing these so-called ‘artworks’ to be painted all around the city.  To address the concerns of these artists, the government may set up designated areas for them to paint.  But I absolutely oppose graffiti in public places.

Yours faithfully

Chris Wong