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Scramble tomorrow to find bun champion

The annual Bun Scrambling Competition will be staged tomorrow (May 12) at the soccer pitch of Cheung Chau Pak Tai Temple Playground, with an opening ceremony at 11.30pm and the start of the competition at midnight.

The Bun Scrambling Competition is the finale of the 2008 Bun Carnival which is jointly organised by the Hong Kong Cheung Chau Bun Festival Committee and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

Replica buns will again be used as they are sturdy and unlikely to be affected by rain or moisture which will cause mould growing on real buns, affecting the performance of the participants.

This year's preliminary competition attracted 160 participants. A total of 116 received safety training on bun tower climbing and accident prevention provided by the Hong Kong Mountaineering Union on April 26 and 27. After the training, 82 participants took part in the selection competition on May 3. The 12 participants who climbed the bun tower in the shortest time entered the Bun Scrambling Competition to be held at midnight tomorrow.

The 12 finalists are Kwok Ka-ming, Chan Ka-shing, Tam Chung-him, Chung Yuk-chuen, Ho Sin-fai, Lai Chi-wai, Cheung Wai-man, Leung Chun-kit, Cheung Man-cheung, Wong Ah-wing, Wong Yu-him and Lau Sing-kit.

The 14-metre tall bun tower has a diameter of three metres and is studded with about 9,000 replica buns. The bun tower will be divided into three zones studded with buns of different scores. There will be 900 "nine-score" buns in the highest zone; 1,700 "three-score" buns in the middle zone and 6,400 "one-score" buns in the lower zone. The words "包山嘉年華Bun Carnival", in green, yellow and red respectively, are printed on the bottoms of the buns. The one who has the highest total score from the three-minute bun grab will be the champion.

The individual race will be followed by a relay competition. Four teams from Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Macau - Kailas Adventure Team, Shenzhen Mountaineering and Outdoorsports Association, Zhuhai Mountaineering and Expedition Association and Clube de Escalada Guia Macau take part in the competition. They will compete with teams from Cheung Chau – the Petrel Athletic Association, Cheung Chau Hoi Luk Fung Cultural and Recreation Association, Cheung Chau Sai Wan Ma Sing Temple Management Association and Spirit Sports Association. It is the first time that a team from Zhuhai has joined the competition.

Two members of each team will take turns to grab specified buns at the top of the tower. The team which can get the specified buns within the shortest time will be the winner.

Trophies will be awarded to the winners, the first runners-up and the second runners-up of both competitions. The prizes are sponsored by 3D-GOLD Jewellery.

All participants have to follow the rules stipulated by the organising parties. Participants must climb vertically and are forbidden to climb sideways or climb with the aid of others. They are not allowed to pull other participants' clothing or safety gear or step on other participants.

Due to limited space, the soccer pitch of Pak Tai Temple Playground will accommodate 1,500 spectators. The venue will be divided into five zones, with one of the zones designated for invited guests and the other four for the public.

People who are interested in watching the competition at the soccer pitch are requested to queue up at Pak She First Lane (next to the Cheung Chau Fire Station), following Ping Chong Road. Admission tickets will be distributed from 9.45pm. Each person will be given one ticket while the tickets last.

The Police and staff of the organisers will be on hand for crowd management. When spectators have got their tickets they should wait in the queue. When admission starts at 10.30pm, people should follow the instructions from the Police and staff of the organisers and enter, in sequence, Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3 and then Zone 4 in an orderly manner.

Some of the replica buns will be distributed to spectators and the rest will be re-used next year. Redemption coupons will be issued to the spectators. Redemption can be made during office hours from May 15-22 at Cheung Chau Sports Centre, Praya Street Sports Centre or the Islands District Leisure Services Office in Central. One coupon is entitled to a replica bun. Special arrangements will be made for people redeeming the replica buns from 9am to noon on May 17 (Saturday) at the Islands District Leisure Services Office in Central.

To maintain the tradition, genuine buns will be distributed to the public at the basketball courts of Pak Tai Temple Playground after the Bun Festival.

TVB Jade, TVB Payvision News Channel, ATV News and Business Channel, Cable TV Live News Channel and now Direct Channel will broadcast the event live, enabling people to enjoy the spectacle at home.

Notices will be put up from 6pm tomorrow (May 12) at Pier 5 in Central, informing people of the schedule of the event. Notice and enquiry counters will be put up at Cheung Chau Pier and the entrance to the Pak Tai Temple Playground.

First Ferry will arrange an additional ordinary ferry trip from Cheung Chau to Central at 1.15am on May 13. Extra ferry trips will be arranged when necessary. From about 12.30am on May 13, the bus company will operate a special cross harbour bus route 104R, running from Pier 5 in Central to Mong Kok. Overnight bus services, which depart from Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal in Central, will be re-routed to operate via Pier 5 in Central for passengers' convenience. These routes are: N8X (to Siu Sai Wan), N90 (to South Horizons), N182 (to Kwong Yuen, Sha Tin) and N619 (to Shun Lee, Kwun Tong).

People who wanted to watch the competition in Cheung Chau are advised to be co-operative and to follow instructions given by the Police and working staff of the organisers. To enjoy this traditional activity, they should be patient in crowded places.

Ends/Sunday, May 11, 2008

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