HONG KONG, July 4 (Reuters) - Beverage maker Vitasoy
has become the latest target of Chinese netizen calls
for a boycott after an employee circulated a memo online
offering condolences to the family of a worker who had stabbed a
Hong Kong police officer.
In a statement on the Chinese social media platform Weibo on
Saturday, Vitasoy said a staff member had circulated a memo that
it described as "extremely inappropriate" without authorisation,
and the company reserved the right to take legal action.
The memo offered condolences to the family of a 50-year-old
Vitasoy worker who had stabbed a police officer, 28, and then
killed himself on Thursday, the anniversary the former British
colony's return to Chinese rule, media outlets reported.
Hong Kong's Secretary for Security Chris Tang has described
the assault as a "lone wolf" terrorist attack.
"What this employee wrote should not have been made public
and should not have been published internally," Vitasoy said.
"Vitasoy Group sincerely apologises for any troubles or
grievances this has caused. We support Hong Kong's long-term
prosperity, stability and development."
The worker's memo triggered a flood of online calls for a
boycott of Vitasoy, which gets two-thirds of its revenue from
The hashtag "#Vitasoygetoutofthemainland" had garnered
almost 100 million views by Sunday.
Mainland actor Gong Jun, who previously endorsed a Vitasoy
lemon-flavoured drink, announced late on Friday he was ending
commercial cooperation with the company, said Global Times, a
tabloid published by the ruling Chinese Communist Party's
official People's Daily newspaper.
His announcement followed that of another mainland Chinese
actor, Ren Jialun, who said he was also ceasing co-operation
with Vitasoy, the newspaper added.
Fashion retailer H&M said on Thursday its sales
took a hit in China after its concerns over alleged human rights
abuses in Xinjiang led to a social media-inspired boycott by
(Reporting By Anne Marie Roantree in Hong Kong and David Kirton
in Shenzhen; Editing by William Mallard)