• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 1:32pm
NewsHong Kong

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


  • 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


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

This is far from racist. This is economic sanction. Your left-wing pigs.
As a sovereign country, Philippines has the rights to refuse taking responsibility of the death of the eight Hong Kong tourists, similarly Hong Kong can impose sanctions, including banning or restricting Filipino domestic helpers, or other economic measures. When diplomacy fails, sanction is a preferred alternative. United Nation has resorted to sanctions numerous times to achieve results.
Advice to the PH government: Stop pushing your luck. Hong Kong people are intelligent. They will weigh against all odds before making a decision.
Dear citizens of Hong Kong,
First of all I'm just an ordinary citizen of the Philippines but since I was a child I've read about the abuses experienced by Filipina domestic helpers in foreign countries. I know I'm not alone in wishing that someday we're going to bring them all home. In recent years, we hear people calling us slaves. I think it is an ignorant generalization of a people who are composed of different classes and professions. We want our government and related agencies to do something. In spite of the shame and hurt, we thank you for awakening the Filipino in most of us. Now we want more than ever to bring these people home. It seems impossible but we can start somewhere right? Personally I can't understand why people who in a way or another make your lives easier at home are treated this way. I can't understand too why the rest of the Philippines are insulted because of this. Is it about race? Though others may say yes but I don't think so. I think it's the ugly human nature, & that includes everyone even my fellow Filipinos, that tends to look down on others because he himself is empty inside. Though he feels superior but inside lurks an inferior self. If all humans just treat other humans with equal respect & dignity, the world will be a better place.
Good night.
P.S. Other Filipinos actually go to HK to tour & shop. Not everyone goes there to work. Sadly it wasn't our elite SAF that was involved in the rescue. The result could have been different.
Why Hong Kong, U.S., and Other Freer Economies Can Justifiably Ban/Restrict Free-Riding RP in the Name of Reciprocity
Why Hong Kong, U.S., and Other Freer Economies Can Justifiably Ban/Restrict Free-Riding RP in the Name of Reciprocity
Such suggestions as to punish the innocent Philippines domestic helpers who simply work in Hongkong to provide the needed services to many Hongkong families reflects clearly on the brains of the legislators of Hongkong. Maybe the next suggestion is to penalise all Hongkong companies for conducting business with the Philippines. Cathay Pacific should stop its flights to the Philippines and Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific should have their landing rights revoked. Companies supporting the gaming industry should be boycotted. What a brainless suggestion!
We thank HK but most Filipinos wish that HK employers treat these people properly since it's clear that most of you depend on foreign domestic labor. Not all employers are mean but others really are inhumane & other Filipinas even are killed in the process. When they go on holidays, they lock their hired helpers inside their homes. Most living spaces in HK are really small for a family with a maid. At least treat them properly. We do welcome a ban. This would challenge the government and other sectors of our society to generate more jobs for Filipinos inside the Philippines. Don't worry about us. We've been through so many trials in the past. This is also the time rich Filipinos should help more those who are less fortunate.
Hello there. If that's what you think about your hired Filipina helpers then send them home. This way racist remarks hurled against us would stop too. It's every Filipino dream to bring back all foreign domestic helpers home. This would create a problem at first but this would be a big challenge to our government and related sectors to generate more jobs in the Philippines. We are still grateful to you for all these years but sorry to say that there are also many documented abuses against these Filipinas. I know you value human life as shown by how you mourn the victims of the hostage taking but I hope that concern extends to other group of human beings.
You can go home, 'Israelites'. You have legs and nobody is stopping you. The Red Sea, or the HK harbour, doesn't even need to part.



SCMP.com Account