Protest symbol or plush toy? IKEA wolf makes brief Hong Kong comeback
January 31, 2014 -- Updated 0531 GMT (1331 HKT)
Lufsig the wolf has become a cuddly symbol of disillusionment with Hong Kong's leader
- 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.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 2332 GMT (0732 HKT)
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 0613 GMT (1413 HKT)
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2010 GMT (0410 HKT)
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0154 GMT (0954 HKT)
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 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.