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  • Apr 21, 2014
  • Updated: 6:55pm
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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
 

Poll

  • Yes: 27%
  • No: 73%
10 Oct 2013
  • Yes
  • No
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

newyorkgirl
Yes, stand up for your nationals. Thirty years of toiling in Hong Kong does not outweigh the economic benefits of feeding, clothing and sheltering their families in the Philippines. Aquino should show his "cojones" by not just recalling and banning Filipina helpers but sending a plane to rescue them as well before it's "too late". Pin your hopes on Aquino unless there's another "cultural" disparity we are not aware of.
ssslmcs01
Aquino is a useless pustule and he is completely unfit to be a world leader. I'm not sure that banning all Filipino nationals from Hong Kong would be the best solution to the problem. Many Hong Kong people who rely on domestic helpers are finding it increasingly difficult to secure a good helper. Banning Filipinos would only make the problem worse.
On the other hand, I'd like to ask Eman Villanueva and Cameron Donnell, amongst others to explain in what way this proposal is racist? Chan Chi-chuen and Albert Chan Wai-yip made this proposal based on the nationality of applicants to obtain domestic helper visas to be employed as such in Hong Kong. It does not specify race whatsoever but applies to Filipino passport holders of all races, there are a number of different races in the Philippines.
It seems some people are so quick to play the race card without even reading or understanding the issue.
John Adams
What kind of idiots voted such total idiots into LEGCO ?
If this is "democracy" I don't want it
lks05
Good proposal. What can force the Philippine government to apologize? The support from the voters.
olliereid
Should Hong Kong issue an apology to Indonesia for the torture of a domestic helper by hong kong residents? And should we all be self-flagellating for the triad that went on a rampage with a cleaver in cheung chau yesterday? clearly, the responsibility of the actions of any individual should not be borne by every citizen of that country. This is ignorant, revengeful, racist, illogical. It reflects poorly on Hong Kong even to tacitly agree to this bill.
anson
But you know the only way we can get rid of these idiots is through the ballot box. When there is universal suffrage - and there will be soon no matter what form - then they will lose their only platform, i.e. calling for universal suffrage. If they are re-elected after this then it will be a great shame on Hong Kong's voters and will call into question their ability to make educated choices.
ssslmcs01
These are amongst the lawmakers who were elected by the people of Hong Kong.
nan_disco@yahoo.com.ph
HONG KONG, JUST LIKE THE EGYPT OF OLD, LET THE ISRAELITES GO. LIKEWISE, WE WELCOME THE HONG KONG PEOPLE TO LET THE FILIPINO GO. AS A FILIPINO, WE DON'T WANT THIS KIND OF RACISM. WE HOPE THE PEOPLE POWER LAWMAKERS WIN IN THEIR QUEST TO BAN THE FILIPINOS ALTOGETHER AND WE ALSO HOPE THAT THE FILIPINO LAWMAKERS TOO WILL ISSUE THE SAME LAW, TO BAN ALL FILIPINOS IN GOING TO HONG KONG. AND LET ALL FILIPINO TOURIST GOING TO HONG KONG TO THINK OTHERWISE. THERE ARE OTHER PLACES TO GO LIKE THAILAND AND SINGAPORE OR MALAYSIA.
lighthouse1971
When you look at the way Hong Kong people exploit those women and provide them with so few rights, I say all power to them. They should occupy more areas in their leisure time and continue to highlight the inconvenient truth that they are here and treated poorly by this society. Open some day care facilities or stop complaining.
shafinhk
we being Hong Koners, always handle the matters with care. we should never overreact. under the existing light of Mr. Aquino, we must NOT over react. we should take proper channels to ask his government and him to apologize.
It is the responsibility of the STATE to ensure the safety of its citizens and citizens of other nations who visit their country. he can not simply transfer the burden to one individual, when the world knows that he failed to send proper and right people to handle the sitatuion immidiatly and with responsibility.
i would SUGGEST Hong Kong government should revoke with immediate effect the VISA-FREE access for Philippine passport holders. this should be implemented within overnight. all FILIPINOS coming with out visa should be deported and new application for foreign maids should be REJECTED without Consideration. To avoid Chaos NOTHING should be done with maid of valid visas at this moment.
i ask you to like my comment and force Hong Kong government to take these immediate steps.
We must fight for the rights of our citizen.

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