• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 5:32am
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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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

mymak
Those of us with friends and family of both HK Chinese and Filipinos wish that the racists from both sides would simply belt-up and consider moving to that new island off Pakistan.
robaston
It seems you need to work on your English a little. Fear not there are many courses availible to you in the Philippines which will be able to suit your budget.
mercedes2233
I challenge you to use Chinese as well.
mercedes2233
Can you use Chinese without errors?
sontan0917
filipino maids should be banned not due to manila bus tragedy but due to their cheap morale and most of the filipino maids are not honest with their work. people can employ maids from other countries.
jameswatdapak@gmail.com
@ssslmcs01 Chan is a racist, banning a group of people(ex. Filipinos) is a legitimate racist act, if you don't call it racist then what it is? and what do you mean by "there are a number of different races in the Philippines." it is not called race but "ethnic groups" is very very different from "race". i think you should educate yourself more.. If you don't like Filipinos then please, by all means, ban us from going there... we'll be delighted. We are sick and tired from Chinese people whining. And FYI, the reason why your children is speaking good English because of the Filipino maids.
nan_disco@yahoo.com.ph
Oh my goodness, Ka! Vent your anger against Phillippine domestic helpers? Your comment will only fan the flame of anger against Filipino maids! Just let them go if this is your kind of thinking! Those poor maids are just toiling and earning for their families and they are not directly connected in the hostage incident. I know that you are just a minority in this line of thinking, Many Hong Kongers are just and humane.
jd.salinger.3154
Good call. Hong Kong needs to clean up the Mean Streets before the next APEC summit. There are always going to be alternative solutions to a city's maid problems.
mercedes2233
Maybe the bill might be modified to take care of amiable situations like yours. Many others, judging from the comments here, are unhappy being abused by their employers etc., so they might be happy to leave as a result of this bill.
ssslmcs01
I'll repeat my question, how is banning people of a specific nationality (a certain passport) regardless of their RACE from entering Hong Kong racist?

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