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'Transformers 4' director Michael Bay attacked on set in Hong Kong

17 October 2013
Director Michael Bay arrives for the premiere of Transformers: Dark of The Moon in Times Square in New York June 28, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Director Michael Bay arrives for the premiere of Transformers: Dark of The Moon in Times Square in New York June 28, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

HONG KONG/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - American director and producer Michael Bay was attacked in Hong Kong on Thursday during filming for the latest installment of his "Transformers" action movies, but he said he brushed off the incident and continued filming.

Two brothers surnamed Mak, aged 27 and 28, approached Bay on the set during filming for the American science fiction film and the younger brother demanded payment of HK$100,000, a police spokeswoman told Reuters.

Bay said in a post on his website that the man was a vendor who was inconvenienced by the shoot and wanted more money than the "fair price" vendors were paid.

"I personally told this man and his friends to forget it we were not going to let him extort us," Bay wrote, adding that the men returned about an hour later, one wielding a "long air conditioner unit."

As a discussion ensued in a busy area of Hong Kong island, the elder Mak walked up and assaulted the director, the police spokeswoman said. The elder brother then attacked three police officers who tried to intervene, she added.

"He walked right up to me and tried to smack my face, but I ducked threw the air unit on the floor and pushed him away," Bay said on his website. "That's when the security jumped on him."

The younger brother was arrested on suspicion of blackmail and assault, while the elder Mak was also arrested on suspicion of assault, the spokeswoman said.

Bay sustained injuries to the right side of his face, although he declined to seek treatment, she said, adding she did not believe his injuries were serious.

Paramount Pictures, the film's distributor, said Bay was unhurt and that no one in the cast or crew was injured.

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" is scheduled to be released in June 2014 and stars Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz. It was not known whether the film's stars were on set during the attack.

"The director ducked and wrested the air conditioner from his attacker, preventing what could have been a serious accident," Paramount said in a statement. "The company's security team quickly stepped in and subdued the assault."

Filming continued after the dispute. Bay said, "we had a great day shooting here in Hong Kong."

When Reuters visited the scene after the assault, the film crew and others working on the set declined to comment.

The three police officers were treated in hospital for minor injuries, while the younger Mak asked to be taken for treatment, saying he did not feel well.

Also arrested at the scene was a third man surnamed Chan.

All three are in custody and police are investigating.

(Reporting By Alexandra Hoegberg and Grace Li in Hong Kong and Eric Kelsey in Los Angeles; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree, Robert Birsel, Piya Sinha-Roy and Mohammad Zargham)

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