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  • Nov 29, 2014
  • Updated: 11:41pm
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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  • Yes: 27%
  • 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

Ka
It is true that Philippine president have not showed a genuine apology and respect to Hong Kong people, especially the survivors of hostage crisis. I think it is meaningless for us to request Philippine government for taking further actions to relief the conflict and anger between Hong Kong and Phillipine.
Of course, I am reasonable to understand why radical pan-democratic party proposes ideas to penalize Philippine people. However, I believe this action would be useless to force their government compromise but let Hong Kong people vent their anger against Philippine domestic helpers.
Alternatively, Hong Kong government has responsibility to express our negative feeling to the mainland government. Moreover, it is possible to set up a fund for compensation and healing to survivors.
ssslmcs01
Would you mind explaining how Mr. Chan's proposal is racist?
HK456789
Just a political show. Never think about the consequence. By locking up the working capacity of middle class, we could give more opportunities to HK competitors to leave us behind.
q.fiver
The woman with glasses in the video is so aggressive. She is the one to behave decently in public.
mercedes2233
The deaths of HK tourists were caused by the incompetence of the Filipino Govt in handling the hostage crisis. Bringing in the SWAT team, or handling of Mendoza's request for reinstatement differently, for example, would have helped. But that was not well handled and HK tourists had to die. The HK justice system dealt fairly and justly with the abuse of the Indonesian maid case so no further action is necessary.
RicRobinCagnaan
What's this? A McCarthyist witch-hunt set up by Hong Kong lawmakers against Filipino workers? How racist! And it's gonna hurt the middle class people! Stop pressuring the Philippine government to apologize for that botched hostage rescue at Quirino Grandstand in Manila three years ago. We've had enough of this, and we don't need it, and we don't have the guts to do it.
ecpath
I was in Central last weekend. OMG, what a mess those Filippino maids made !
I will suggest that a surcharge be make (to be paid by the Philippines Govt) for the use of Central on weekends. In fact, the charges should be based on the hotel rates in Central area, so that the cost of maintenance and security will be paid for.
The above is totally justifiable based on (i) the maids does not contribute adequately to be entitled to the facilities; (ii) what if the citizens wish to "camp out" in CWB, we will not be able to have that priviledge; (iii) are the street vendors paying tax and obtain license for selling goods ? The answer is probably no !
As such, those maids (and the Phillippines Govt) should consider themselves very priviledged and thus we should expect the President of the RoP to pay tribute to the citizen and residents of HK, to the extent to 'kou tou' at the grvaes of those killed at the hostage incidence.
mercedes2233
Were Marcos and Mrs Marcos any better? At least our 'clowns' did not bankrupt HK like your clowns did.
14u2nv
WTF?
lks05
SCMP is full of 5-cents.

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