A Hong Kong graffiti artist, the "King of Kowloon," who gained worldwide fame with his Chinese calligraphy on walls and phone boxes across the city, has died of a heart attack at the age of 86.
For more than 50 years Tsang Tsou-choi's script could be found throughout Hong Kong, claiming his family had a royal background and declaring himself king of Kowloon.
Tsang claimed much of the land in Kowloon belonged to his family but the government had annexed it without compensation, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Thursday.
The report said when he failed to get official recognition of his claims, he published them on the walls of Hong Kong.
Most of his graffiti were washed off or painted over by authorities.
But the SCMP report said there were calls for Tsang's work, some of which remains on walls in Kowloon, to be preserved.
His work typically consisted of a list of his ancestors. Also included were places that his forebears owned. The lists often ended with "Emperor of The Kingdom of New China, Canton and Kowloon Tsang Tsou-choi," the SCMP said.
A knee problem finally stopped him painting in 2003.
He became famous around the globe after some of his works were displayed at the Venice Biennale international art exhibition in 2003. In 2004 one of his pieces sold at a Sotheby's auction for HK$55,000 (US$7,000).
Tsang's work has inspired fashion designers and interior decorators. Louis Vuitton also featured him in a handbag advertisement.
(Agencies via CRI.cn July 27, 2007)