Hutchison Whampoa


PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 June, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 June, 1996, 12:00am

I am a little concerned about what seems to be a case of open discrimination by Hutchison Telephone.

I am at the moment considering the purchase of a mobile telephone, looking at the various companies offering such services and comparing their hardware prices and service packages.

It is clear that Hutchison is very competitive in both areas, but I have been halted in my decision to buy from Hutchison by a matter that was first brought to my attention by an aquaintance in February; and which I witnessed on Tuesday, June 4.

It appears that it is Hutchison's policy to require Hong Kong residents who are not of ethnic Chinese extraction to pay a $5,000 deposit before they can buy a mobile phone and subscribe to their services.

On June 4, I witnessed a Caucasian woman purchasing a mobile phone from Hutchison's shop in Des Voeux Road Central, and politely refusing to carry through her purchase when the salesman asked her to pay the $5,000 deposit.

The staff in this incident did not actually mention that the deposit was for the reason above, but when my acquaintance purchased his phone in February, he was told quite openly that he would have to pay this deposit because he wasn't a local Chinese, which he refused to do.

It is of interest to note that on Hutchison's 'GSM Digital Network Service Fees Guide', you need only pay $1,000 as an IDD deposit; so it is easy to gauge the disproportion of this so-called deposit.

I have studied this guide throughout, and found no mention of a $5,000 deposit being required; which only serves to reinforce the notion that it is a discriminatory charge.

I have lived in Hong Kong for more than 13 years, more than half my life, and consider Hong Kong my home.

I feel very insulted by this open discrimination; I can see neither the purpose nor the justification for this policy.

Is anyone from Hutchison willing to comment? CLIVE A. GREGORY Ma On Shan


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