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'Celebrities' get cold shoulder at Hong Kong comic fair

While the likes of Hollywood A-listers Blake Lively and Angelina Jolie have just finished delighting the fans at America's massive Comic-Con 2010 gathering in San Diego, it seems there's no place for celebrities at the event's Hong Kong equivalent.

Organizers of Ani-Com and Games - - which runs from Friday, July 30 to Tuesday, August 3 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition - have banned the city's "famous celebrities'' from appearing at stalls during the event, which hopes this year to attract more than 700,000 people.

Just how "famous'' the people banned actually are is the topic of some debate in the city, as the move is basically seen as a way of easing the pandemonium that follows public appearances by Hong Kong's "pseudo-models'' (or lang mo) such as the buxom Chrissie Chau Sau-na, who has built her career on the back of a series of revealing photo shoots and picture books.

Chau, for one, had been expected to help launch the Xbox 360 at the fair but has now been told to stay away. And she seems pretty happy about it.

"In just a few days, Ani-Com has made me a celebrity,'' she told local media here.

There are 150 exhibitors manning 506 stalls at the event - which helps promote Asia's animation, game and collectable industries.

Hundreds of comic fans have been lining up for the fair since Tuesday, lured by the offer of free figurines, autographs - and a whole lot more besides.

Although Chau and her ilk have been told they will only be allowed brief appearances on the center stage, so long as the public can contain itself, some stalls have managed to avoid the ban on allowing celebs to get up close and personal.

The first 20 people through the gates and into the Gamania Digital Entertainment exhibit, for example, will find themselves up for a "hugging event'' with the lesser known but equally buxom Taiwanese model Da Yuan.

And organizers seem happy to let them do it.