• Wed
  • Jul 30, 2014
  • Updated: 5:30pm
NewsHong Kong
DIPLOMACY

Lawmakers propose ban on maids to force apology over Manila bus tragedy

Lawmaker Albert Chan's group wants to change immigration law to ban Filipino workers until Aquino apologises for Manila hostage tragedy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 7:33pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 October, 2013, 11:39am
 

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  • No: 73%
10 Oct 2013
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Total number of votes recorded: 721

A radical pan-democratic group is seeking law revisions to ban Filipino domestic helpers from working in the city until Manila apologises for the bungled rescue in a Manila hostage-taking crisis three years ago that killed eight Hongkongers.

Under the People Power plan, all Filipinos would eventually be barred from entering Hong Kong.

The idea was met with reservations by the security minister, legislators and the family of one of the dead hostages, expressing concerns about the effect on Hongkongers in general.

The move came two days after Philippine President Benigno Aquino insisted in an official talk with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in Bali on Monday that he would make no apology for the messed-up rescue action.

"Aquino has been humiliating Hongkongers," lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip, of People Power, said. "The government has the responsibility to take a tougher stance to penalise the country for its response to the tragedy."

The political group plans to table a private member's bill to amend the Immigration Ordinance. The bill must be signed off by the chief executive before the Legislative Council votes on it.

People Power seeks changes to the law in three steps: first, to ban new Filipino domestic helpers; secondly, to stop renewing the entry permits of existing maids; and lastly, to bar all Filipinos from entering Hong Kong until the Philippines apologises.

The city has about 160,000 Filipino domestic workers.

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said any follow-up action on the hostage tragedy had to be reasonable. "We have to be careful about any idea that will affect the public," he said.

New People's Party lawmaker and executive councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said the ban would only harm the middle class. "Hongkongers should stop pressing for an apology from the Philippines as Aquino will only continue playing tricks," Ip said.

She proposed that the government set up a fund to help survivors and families of the dead.

Wong Kwok-kin, a legislator from the Beijing-friendly Federation of Trade Unions, said it would not oppose the idea of restricting Filipino helpers.

"But any policy change concerning Filipino maids could affect more than 200,000 local families and needs careful consideration," Wong said.

Tse Chi-kin, elder brother of slain tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, said he did not want their cause to undermine the interests of Hongkongers.

Eman Villanueva, spokesman for the Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body, said Chan was "barking up the wrong tree".

"Chan is just exploiting the political situation to gain popularity. What does the visa issue have to do with the Manila hostage incident?" Villanueva asked. "This is racist and he should be ashamed."

A video released by the Philippine presidential office shows Leung's meeting with Aquino.

Ip said Leung was the underdog in the talks, as he lacked experience in diplomacy. "From the seating arrangement and the lack of a joint statement you can see the Philippines disrespects Hong Kong," she said.

Leung and two other Hong Kong officials sat on one side while Aquino sat alone at the centre of the room. That was "inappropriate" and contradicted diplomatic norms for leaders to sit side by side even when both were not state leaders, said Simon Shen Xuhui, director of global studies at Chinese University.

The International Federation of Journalists condemned the Apec summit organisers for barring Hong Kong journalists who asked Aquino about an apology.

Video: Apec summit staff kicked out Hong Kong reporters for "screaming" at President of Philippines

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This article is now closed to comments

Kubrick
This is the most silly, counter-productive proposal and amply demonstrates why People Power are totally unfit to govern. With people like this in LEGCO we are made the laughing stock of the civilized world. If this is the standard by which we conduct international relations, then surely Hong Kong should be offering its heartfelt apologies for the abuse of some maids, the slave-like conditions some suffer and the physical violence as recorded by recent shocking court cases. What happened in Manila was terrible, but to hold the whole country accountable is absurd. Collective punishment was favored by Hitler and Stalin, is that what People Power want?
anson
Whatever they have done in the past nothing compares to this downright racist and stupid idea. What people want is a genuine apology not one delivered at the end of an economic gun barrel. There must be something that ordinary Hong Kongers can do to rid ourselves of these dangerous miscreants. I have a feeling that universal suffrage and being accountable for their actions would quickly remove these fools from public life.
xxxriainxxx
As a Filipino, many of us actually welcome the ban on deployment of Filipino maids in HK who've been subject to repeated maltreatment, discrimination and even physical abuse in HK for many, many years. In the last 30 years, there were so many Filipina domestics working in the 'world city' of Hong Kong coming home disabled or dead- but nary did we ask the HK/Beijing government to apologise.
As for the ban of Filipino tourists to HK, we also welcome this development (and I'll bet many of the neighbouring countries would welcome this too). The Philippines is one of your top tourist markets. There are more Filipinos visiting Hong Kong for leisure and shopping than there are Hong Kongers visiting the Philippines. This will hurt you more than it will hurt us. In fact, many tourists laugh at your black travel alert to the Philippines. It made you look like the fool.
A ban on Filipino expats would also mean shutting down of Philippine businesses in HK and this will affect your reputation as a 'world city' and a business hub of choice. That would also affect HK businesses in the Philippines.
So kindly go ahead. We are done being treated like your doormat. :)
14u2nv
Outstanding and incisive input.... thank you for making the world a better place.
clown.
Cameron Donnell
Hong Kong just moved one step higher on the racist ladder. I am starting to think that not having universal suffrage in HK may be a good thing for am immature voting public.
Secondly you may want to change Hong Kong promo name from "World City" to "City of Shame"
Shadow
LAWMAKERS Prove that their thoughts are clearly Racist,all the maids should knock the court door against these racist people
seanniem
This is a worse idea than quit Legco & "de-facto" referendum...
XYZ
Why don't they just give it a rest? Accept the reality of the situation.
ngsw
Naive and stupid lawmakers. Who suffer most in banning the helpers? Aquino?
22gt7
A High Court judge had struck out a claim filed by victims of the Manila hostage tragedy against the Philippine government on the grounds that a sovereign state is immune from being sued in Hong Kong. We all know that there is little hope that any amicable discussion with the Philippine government will be fruitful. Since the Central Government appears to have granted the Hong Kong SAR Government the mandate in handling this foreign affair notwithstanding Section 13 of the Basic Laws, HK Government should capitalize on this instance by showing solidarity with Hongkongers. By giving pressure on the unapologetic Aquino three years after the tragic event, this will not only improve the popularity of the CY Government but will also show for the first time the solidarity with the pro-democracy lawmakers. At this stage, there should not be “comrades’ internal conflict” in communist terminology. All pro-government legco members should be in the “united front” with the People Power lawmakers on this issue. In all probability, the Philippine government will yield to this pressure by giving the long overdue apology and compensation to the Manila hostage victims before the proposed bill is finalized. This is politics!

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