Tour guide on assault charge

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 August, 2011, 12:00am


A tour guide was arrested yesterday on suspicion of assaulting a mainland tourist in a row believed to be linked to so-called forced shopping.

The group of about 20 visitors from Shenyang , Liaoning province, was taken to Kitec in Kowloon Bay to shop on the second day of a three-day package tour. A couple complained they had been scolded by the guide, a local woman, because they had not bought anything.

The wife said the 31-year-old tour guide tried to grab her mobile phone, which she was using to record what was happening on their tour bus. Her husband, 32, tried to stop the guide and a struggle followed.

Someone called police and the guide was arrested. She was charged with one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and will appear in Kwun Tong Court today.

The man suffered injuries to his limbs and abdomen. The guide sustained minor head, limb and shoulder injuries. They were taken to United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong.

Peter Chui Kam-ming, deputy general manager of the agency, Harvest International Travel Services, said the row was not about shopping. He said the man tried to hit the guide with a fire extinguisher, but the driver stood in his way. The guide fell, knocking the wife to the ground. She was then hit by the man.

Travel Industry Council chairman Michael Wu Siu-ieng said the watchdog had yet to confirm whether the incident was caused by forced shopping. He understood another tour guide had taken over the tour.

The issue of forced shopping hit the headlines when a video circulated of guide Li Hau-chun berating tourists for not spending enough during a visit in March last year. Li worked for Golden Win Travel, which is linked to Harvest International.

That prompted the Travel Industry Council to implement rules forcing tour firms to pay guides a basic salary so they would no long have to rely on commission from shops or put pressure on mainland tourists to spend cash. But working conditions had yet to improve, tourism sector lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun said.