• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 3:44pm
NewsHong Kong

Legco set to back call to withdraw visa-free access to Filipino visitors

Lawmakers ready to put pressure on Manila despite fresh hope of compensation deal

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 November, 2013, 4:30am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 November, 2013, 4:30am

Lawmakers are rallying behind a call to withdraw visa-free access for Filipino visitors to Hong Kong despite reports of progress towards a compensation deal for victims of the 2010 Manila hostage siege.

A non-binding Legislative Council motion urging the suspension of the visa-free scheme looks set to be passed on Wednesday after parties from across the political spectrum indicated they would support it.

Lawmakers want the government to put pressure on the Philippine leadership and Manila city government to compensate families of eight Hongkongers killed by sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza, as well as the injured.

The call comes despite a joint statement on Thursday by Manila City Council representative Bernardito Ang and Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who is working with the victims and families, indicating that a deal was getting closer.

Former security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, will move the call to stop visa-free access as an amendment to radical pan-democrat Albert Chan Wai-yip's motion seeking sanctions on the Philippines. She has won the support of two leading Beijing-loyalist parties, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Federation of Trade Unions. Pan-democrats are also expected to support her amendment.

Chan's motion is expected to pass. But DAB chairman Tam Yiu-chung says his party may not support an amendment by Democratic Party lawmaker Sin Chung-kai as it "might infringe the existing trade agreements".

Sin wants the government to stop buying Philippine products, halt negotiations on air routes and trade and urge the public to boycott Philippine goods.

But FTU lawmaker Wong Kwok-kin will support both amendments.

"Though the motion has no binding effect, it will exert pressure not only on the Hong Kong government but also the Philippines - as pan-democrats and the pro-establishment camp join forces on this issue," he said.

Security minister Lai Tung-kwok would not comment on the amendments until the meeting.



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This article is now closed to comments

Is this lawmakers genuine concern? Or just wiping up emotions for selfish reasons. Visa free is suppose to promote tourism in Hk. This change will just mean less Filipinos tourist as they choose friendlier places to visit such as Singapore.
You are mixing oranges and apples. What happened in Tiananmen is a terrorist act. What happened in Manila was a bungled up operation of a local police which caused the lives of Hong Kong people.
I read the news and every day just see more and more silly ideas coming up from the government. Hong Kong - where are you headed?
Dear politicians - do you really think your action will make the Filipino government to bend over and "compensate the families"? Did they have no travel insurance (that also covers accidental death)? I am sorry all these good people have died - but is this really a reason to make Hong Kong seem old fashioned, unrealistic and kind of a bully in the eyes of the world?
Just drop it already! Why do you want to punish thousands of Filipinos - tourists, businesses, airlines - etc. for actions of one crazy policemen and a few incompetent policemen. If you feel Philipines are unsafe - just do not go there - but do not close HK ("world's freest economy" and a "tourist's paradise") - like that. Do not behave like an offended ostrich!
You're not going to listen to voice of reason, but that's my two cents anywy.
Just like a baby spitting the dummy out.
Why do we have immature leaders running the place, really quite disgusting. If this was USA or UK would they do this.
Not surprised and expected, China pulling the strings of its puppet HK SAR --. Filipinos will go where they are welcome like ... everywhere. Hongkong's action is counter-productive, politicking, and immature. The day will come when the Philippines will be a regional economic and military power once again, and Filipinos will never forget those who have insulted and bullied them. Filipinos are nice and patient people, they do not get angry ... they get even.
It is time someone banged all their heads together to try to instill some sense of proportion - and, if possible, intelligence.
This only demonstrates shows how mean spirited, racist and petty minded so many of our conceited Legco members are.
HK'rs involved in this fiasco including the victim's surviving family members, the political idiots (such as Regina Ip here as well as all the Legco idioits) are being nothing more than cry babies in this whole issue..........the Philippine government, nor any other respectable country in the world will bend to such childish tactics suggested here..............Really, is there nothing else that the local politicians can come up with other than pursue such childish tactics?..................They are doing nothing but continuing to embarrass HK at the expense of gaining their own political points to pursue personal gains..............At times like these, it's embarrassing to even be living in HK.............
The problem with politicians is that there are no assessments or qualifications required to become a politician and to become a candidate. That is why we every Tom, D i ck and Regina can become a politician.
The Manila government has sent representatives who are actually on eye-level with the HK administration. And the appropriate authorities are apologising. What else do you want ? To ask the head of state to apologise for a bungled up operation of a local police force of a city is just unrealistic. Unless our state leaders in Beijing would go ahead doing so in similar situations e.g. Tiananmen killing of a Filipino.
And dear politicians, just think for yourselves what standards to calculate the compensation for the victims a panel of judges in an international court would apply. There are enough lawyers among the politicians and if they are truly professionals they should be capable to evaluate this without any emotions for the victims or against Filipinos but purely on applicable laws.
Well, Regina Ip up to her old and stupid tricks again. Regina could not care less about the Hong Kong victims of the Manila tragedy. She is only is exploiting this for her eventual campaign to br Beijing's next Chief Executive. By the way, did she ask China to formally apologize to the Philippines for the killing of a Filipina doctor who was killed a few days ago in Tianiamen Square by a terrorist? I don't think so, but don't forget what REGINA rhymes with. Starts with letter "V". Synonym starts with letter "C" which is what Ms. Ip is...



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