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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 10:10pm
NewsHong Kong

Filipinos set to snub Hong Kong after visa threat in Manila hostage row

Threat to scrap visa-free access to Hong Kong brings a swift response on social media, with many saying they will turn their backs on city

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 6:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 6:01am

Filipinos have reacted with bitterness to the decision by Hong Kong lawmakers to push for the scrapping of their visa-free trips to the city and are threatening to take their cash elsewhere.

Jim Paredes, a popular songwriter and performer, posted on Facebook: "OK Hong Kong, it's been nice knowing you. But you will miss us more than we will miss you."

And on Twitter, user @vita_bella88 said: "Dear HK, see if we care. You need us more than we need you. Thank us for your economy. Good riddance."

The comments came after Legco passed a non-binding motion last week to press the government to impose sanctions on Manila and cancel visa-free access for Filipinos.

It followed Manila's failure to meet the demands of survivors and the families of victims of the hostage crisis three years ago.

Eight Hongkongers were shot dead by sacked Manila police officer Rolando Mendoza and seven injured in the bus siege and botched rescue attempt.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had previously said he would impose sanctions if the Philippines failed to apologise and give compensation. The families and survivors also want to see the officials responsible punished and tourist safety improved in the Philippine capital.

But the lawmakers' call for sanctions has been met with sadness and resentment.

"It's time to move on from our HK obsession," Mavie Ungco posted on Facebook yesterday.

A young professional, she and her husband - a chef/restaurateur - have visited Hong Kong at least twice a year since 2009.

"We go there to shop, eat and unwind," she told the Sunday Morning Post. Ungco said that every time she and her family visited "we spend a considerable amount. We stay anywhere from three to five days. We call it the Land of Everyday Shopping". But she said a visa requirement would "definitely discourage" her family from visiting.

"We like to go to Hong Kong, but if they don't want our business we'll take it elsewhere."

Gabe Mercado, a performer and training consultant, said on Facebook: "While Hong Kong has always been the favourite short haul vacation destination for Filipinos, most of us will start looking at Singapore and Bangkok more seriously, now that there is this de facto ban on us."

Mercado posted Hong Kong Tourism Board figures showing that from January to September of this year there were 517,562 visitors from the Philippines.

He noted: "Assume that 100,000 more will come and visit between now and the end of the year and you have [about] 617,000 [visitors]."

He estimated that if every Filipino visitor spent an "extremely low average" of US$200, that would come to US$123.4 million.

He warned: "Tourist income could be in danger now that Filipinos will be needing visas."

Other reactions to the proposed visa requirement have been stronger. A Filipino with the account @crustedsauce tweeted: "Why dream about Hong Kong? It is an ugly place without civilisation and culture."

And a Facebook user, Ces Clemente-Ocampo, commented: "They just cut off their nose to spite their face. We will simply take our retail dollars elsewhere."


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This article is now closed to comments

Some concerned countries like US, UAE and UK are working on helping the Philippines in response to what the dreadful typhoon Haiyan has left the country while Hong Kong is still busy working on the sanctions which they can't wait to impose. Come on!
Philippines' politicians/leaders have lots of things piled up to do to cater to its people who lost not just 8 lives but thousands. Not saying that we just ignore the 2010 HK Chinese killing or abandon the issue, no. No one was happy about their death and we were actually saddened by it and hoping that this gets resolved but in a rational way.
Just saying, back off a little and don't make it seem like the death of your people was the entire country's fault for you to create this egotistical unnecessary war and to affect each and every Filipino's lives.
Still hoping that this issue gets settled. Let's not make decisions out of anger….
HK is nothing special? And Philipines is? I've lived in HK over 6 years, have been to most places in Asia several times, but ZERO times to PHIL and ZERO interest to do so.
You are so shallow!
I don't think the relatives of the victims are asking for "I am sorry" from the president.
I think they will be more relieved to hear "promises" from the president to improve the quality of the police force and really make Philippines a safe country to visit.
At this point, I hope the President can really do something to help his nation and his people after the super typhoon.
Filipinos are survivors, very resilient and very tough. I don't think Hong kongers can survive 30 strong violent typhoons coming to their territory year after year like the Philippines will always do since time immemorial. those people can survive deadly typhoons--- what more a questionable political and racists sanctions against ALL of them.
I find interesting reading infos that Filipino Chinese (ethnic pure Chinese born and raise in the Philippines who are quite well to do and like spending vacations in HK also ) felt discriminated by Hong Kong people when they go there in HK.... so the only people that HK people don't hate are themselves.;)
Nice avatar :)
CY Leung - and his LegCo acolytes - must be even more stupid that I thought (hard) to play this game. If the Philippines turns round and annuls Cathay Pacific's air traffic rights Hong Kong's flag carrier will lose approximately 10% of its passengers and somewhat more of its revenue. In short it will become unprofitable. And journeys from Hong Kong to Australia/New Zealand will add approximately 10% in journey time (due to loss of overflight rights) meaning that passengers will switch to Qantas and other airline on that route. Super. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.
The **** does not represent the whole Philippines. He just happens to be a Filipino. Do not speak as if you are a first class citizen and a saint because you are not. Also, you do not wish people of tragedy, innocent or not.
Obviously, the article is trying to add fuel to the fire. More than 100k Filipinos working in HK and how many people/family are they supporting?? Vice versa, how many HK families are employing Filipinos to do work for them. I think the comments are those who rarely go to HK or affected by it.
actually this was a mistake of no one, it's a very sad incident in which Phl & Hk don't want & don't need. Phl prez really don't need to apologize directly, thru informal channels he can convey his condolence. i hope Hk will understand & accept. it's official protocol other nations are doing that too so why single out Phl. let us all be civil & as citizens of this world we need to cooperate especially being good neighbors for so long. Phl & Hk has no spat ever since, let's do it for both our nation's sake



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