Skip to main content

Protest symbol or plush toy? IKEA wolf makes brief Hong Kong comeback

By Euan McKirdy, for CNN
January 31, 2014 -- Updated 0531 GMT (1331 HKT)
Lufsig the wolf has become a cuddly symbol of disillusionment with Hong Kong's leader
Lufsig the wolf has become a cuddly symbol of disillusionment with Hong Kong's leader
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • IKEA's hit toy sold out within hours of restock in Hong Kong
  • Cuddly wolf toy became a tongue-in-cheek symbol of protest against Chief Executive last year
  • Lufsig fans express their disappointment; more stock expected in March

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Hong Kongers are howling in disappointment as their potent -- if unlikely -- symbol of protest once again goes missing from the city's shelves.

IKEA's wolf-like Lufsig doll, which played a cameo in local politics last year, quickly sold out upon its return to the city.

Residents snapped up the stuffed toy in December after one was hurled by a protestor at C.Y. Leung, Hong Kong's leader, who is nicknamed "wolf" for his political cunning.

Modeled after the antagonist of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, Lufsig went on sale at Hong Kong's three IKEA stores on Wednesday but quickly sold out as throngs of customers lined up early to get their hands on the toy, which has been out of stock since its rise to prominence in December.

The South China Morning Post reported that 2,000 of the toys were made available in the Swedish furniture giant's Causeway Bay, Sha Tin and Kowloon Bay stores at a cost of HK$99.9 ($13) each.

IKEA staff handed out tickets to eager customers before the stores opened for business. Each ticket allowed the purchase of a single doll, although reports of some enterprising customers rejoining the back of the line quickly spread.

The toys have become a popular symbol of protest against the chief executive, who is criticized in the city as having too close ties to Beijing, and for putting off his responsibilities to secure universal suffrage for the city's voters by 2017.

There is also an element of bawdy humor associated with the toy, whose former Chinese name is a near-homonym of a crude sexual term in Cantonese. Ikea has since updated the name.

The toy's popularity remains undiminished, and some of the 50,000 followers of the Lufsig Facebook group page expressed their disappointment with IKEA.

"It's just improper planning, you can't even order one online so people who have to work everyday can't get one," said one disgruntled Lufsig fan.

However, despite the immediate demand for the toy, the resell market hasn't caught fire, with dolls selling on the Hong Kong portal of eBay for around HK$140-$150 ($18-19), a modest 40-50% markup.

IKEA said that Lufsig would next be in stock around the end of March, although it remains to be seen if he will retain his political potency in the meantime.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 0059 GMT (0859 HKT)
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 1557 GMT (2357 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT