The Dangers Artistes Can Face While Filming Overseas

The explosions that occurred in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4th killed over 200, injured over 7,000, and left over 300,000 people homeless. The world is in shock. The explosions had rekindled many memories of overseas traveling for Tony Hung (洪永城), who for many years primarily worked as an MC and presenter for travel documentaries.

“I went to Lebanon to do a documentary seven years ago,” said Tony. “It’s a country in the center of conflict. Above them is Syria, and below them is Israel. I remember a soldier pointing a gun at us, because he saw a video camera in our car. I also remember seeing a tank pointing at us. After he realized that we were there to do a documentary, he told us not to film them, because they didn’t want any military secrets to get leaked. It was definitely a terrifying experience.”

His frequent costar Priscilla Wong (黃翠如) had similar experiences in other countries. She recalled a harrowing experience in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro: “We wanted to film a part of our show in the slums. Only a few of us could enter. Our guide told us to not look at anyone in the eye. Be prepared to leave at any moment. Don’t take pictures of anything and everything. I remember hearing someone getting confronted in the street next to ours, so our guide took us to another spot. We then heard gun sounds.”

Priscilla also recalled being on the receiving end of an assault rifle while filming in Ethiopia: “People there commonly use rifles to defend themselves. I remember robbers pointing AK-47s at us, demanding us to give them money.”

Tony and Priscilla are far from being the only celebrities who have encountered dangerous situations while working overseas. Carlos Chan (陳家樂) said, “We came across an army while filming in Mexico. We were off work and wanted to walk around the town. A car zoomed past us, followed by an army team. A soldier pointed a gun at us, and only left us alone after we showed documentation that we were a filming crew.”

Although she was fortunate enough to be confronted by gunmen or thugs, Gin Lee (李幸倪) recalled a terrifying experience while she was at work in Taiwan: “There was an earthquake. I never experienced it before, so I was very terrified. I was still in the middle of a costume change. I only had on my stockings, so I kept slipping and was desperately grabbing something to hold onto. I felt like I was falling. Everything around us were shaking, and everyone looked pale! A local staff had to reassure me that we’ll be fine, and that it was just an earthquake. It was shaking for an entire minute. It wasn’t considered to be a very big earthquake, but I was terrified nonetheless.”

Winkie Lai (黎美言), a former member of the girl group HotCha, had a similar experience. “We were doing a photoshoot in Bali. A earthquake happened at around six in the morning. Crystal and I were working at the Villa by the beach, on the second floor. It was my first earthquake experience. The entire building was shaking. I was so scared, and grabbed onto whatever I could find. I had many thoughts swirling in my head: could the waves crash into us? Could this cause a tsunami? I was so scared I couldn’t even cry. Fortunately we were all safe, but it was definitely a very unforgettable experience.”

Cable TV presenter Natalie Mitchell (可宜) recounted a less-than-ideal situation while she was on location filming in Nepal. She had a severe stomachache, and had to see a doctor at an international clinic. As the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning, she was afraid that she had caught the virus.

“I was experiencing some of the symptoms [of COVID-19],” she said. “So I had to immediately go see a doctor. Once the medical personnel heard that I was from Hong Kong, they started to treat me differently, especially the nurses. They looked like they really didn’t want to treat me. Fortunately, it was only a stomach virus. I was fine after taking medication.”


This article is written by Addy for

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