Tour guide who berated visitors appeals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 September, 2010, 12:00am

Former tour guide Li Hau-chun, whose licence was revoked after she berated mainland visitors for not shopping enough, has filed an appeal with the Travel Industry Council.

She has won support from her old boss, Golden Win International Travel Services, which is willing to write a letter vouching for Li in an effort to win a more lenient penalty.

Joseph Tung Yao-chung, the council's executive director, said Li filed an appeal on Wednesday night along with an apology letter.

'She says she understands that what she did had a huge impact on the tourism industry and has damaged the image of Hong Kong,' Tung said. 'She apologises to the mainland visitors. She says she has already been punished through losing her job and thus her income.'

Li's appeal comes nearly two weeks after the council's compliance committee ruled to revoke her licence, the first time a tour guide has received such a penalty for forcing tourists to shop.

Two months ago a video was made public showing her verbally abusing clients on a bus for not buying enough at shops during a tour of the city in March.

The council said she had not considered the tourists' feelings and that her behaviour had seriously breached its code of ethics.

Li had had her licence suspended before for violating similar rules.

Peter Chui Kam-ming - deputy general manager of Golden Win, which was fined HK$47,500 for failing to protect the interests of the tourists and ensure its tour guides observed the code of conduct - said yesterday the firm would not file an appeal against its penalty. 'We think we hold responsibility in the case.'

Chui said he had tried to contact Li to ask her if she needed the company to write a letter in support of her case, but that Li's phone had been switched off. 'I personally think if someone made a mistake and is willing to apologise and promise not to do it again, we should give her a chance,' Chui said.

Tung said the council's appeal board would arrange a hearing later.

A hearing involving Win's Travel Agency, which had its licence revoked after hiring an unlicensed guide linked to the death of a tourist, will continue next Wednesday, after the council's board of appeal held a seven-hour meeting last week.