• Wed
  • Jul 23, 2014
  • Updated: 11:15am
NewsHong Kong
MANILA HOSTAGE CRISIS

Hong Kong cancels visa-free privileges for Philippine officials and diplomats

Government cancels diplomatic passport privileges in retaliation for Manila's failure to meet demands over 2010 tourist bloodbath

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 January, 2014, 6:12pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 January, 2014, 10:50am

Hong Kong will cancel visa-free arrangements for Philippine official and diplomatic passport holders in its first sanctions against a foreign state.

The measure, imposed in retaliation for the country's failure to respond all of the city's demands after the 2010 Manila hostage bloodbath, takes effect on Wednesday.

While Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said it came after discussions between the two governments this week bore no fruit, international-relations experts said the cancellation could be related to tension between Beijing and Manila over the South China Sea.

Survivors and victims' relatives have been asking for a formal apology, compensation, punishment of responsible officials and improved tourist safety.

They rejected an apology from Manila mayor Joseph Estrada in August as insincere, but found responses to the other three requests satisfactory. A black warning - the highest - against travel to the Philippines remains in force.

Leung said cancellation of the 14-day visa-free arrangements for the two categories of passport-holders, of whom up to 800 visit Hong Kong each year, was the just the first phase of sanctions. Existing accredited Philippines consular officials will not be affected by the measures.

He said the government received the latest message from Manila on Monday, but discussions were fruitless.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing supported Hong Kong in its efforts regarding the hostage crisis. The Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong did not respond to inquiries last night but a formal response from Manila is expected today .

On August 23, 2010, sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza took 22 Hong Kong tourists and three Filipinos captive on their coach. He shot dead seven tourists and their guide before being killed in a bungled rescue.

Watch: Philippine bus hostage-taking incident

Veteran China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu, said Beijing must have endorsed the decision as Hong Kong had limited power in matters of foreign relations.

Dr David Zweig, chair professor of the social science department at the University of Science and Technology, said Beijing "certainly" would not have opposed the sanction decision, adding: "Beijing is not very happy with the Philippines these days."

But he said sanctions could be unwise if talks are continuing.

Tse Chi-kin, brother of killed tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, and injured survivor Yik Siu-ling welcomed the move. "At least it's an unprecedented step to show the Hong Kong and Beijing governments do care," Tse said.

In November, the Philippines gave an undisclosed amount to Yik, who had facial reconstruction surgery costing HK$1 million in Taiwan to repair damage from a bullet through her jaw.

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isko.n.bayan
You should read the sentiments of Filipinos online. It's more likely the same even offline. They're glad and they don't care. This is mainly because of the blatant discrimination they've got from other HKers in the past & until now. If the ending of this issue will be the banning of all Filipinos from visiting and working in Hong Kong, there'll be a slight difference in the reaction perhaps but still I think majority will still say.."we don't care!" Those who can afford to travel, shop and dine in Hong Kong are actually saying they would do those activities in the Philippines instead or go to other neighboring places that welcome them. Don't worry about the OFWs, that's the job of our government, labor department and relevant private entities. We were sorry but you've pushed the button so far our dear neighbor.
artdig18
Not much of the rescue attempt of the hostages went right... There were clearly incompetence but neither the Manila Govt or Philippine Govt committed any wrong by embarking on the rescue attempt. The wrong was the gunman holding the hostage.
artdig18
It's perfectly logically for Estrada as Manila's Mayor to take responsibility. HK Govt is still using children playground logic to push for a Presidential apology. I just hope President Aquino will just do us HKers a favour and put our good intentioned but misguided govt out of its misery and apologise.
lenali2003
At this moment, it seems that The Philippine government still think they have done nothing wrong in the incident.
Maybe a heavier sanction is needed so as to 'teach' the government how to deal with international affairs and treat human lives.
artdig18
It's the Manila govt that had jurisdiction over this matter so you are correct the National Govt of Philippines did not do any thing wrong.
pangkf
I know we can't do anything as we are just a small city. But I will NOT go to the hell Phillippines just because of that rubbish government. WIthout the assistance from the States and Japan, I don't know how that country would be like!! One more thing, Philippines maids are not so indispensable in Hong Kong. Life will go on, no worries!
marian
what's this great hatred against filipinos/philippines anyawy?!! i think its understanble to be disgrunted with their government but to put spiteful comments against its people and their country is just plain and blatant signal of racist hatred against their people. hell, whatever sanctions HK will make against the philippines in the near future, i got the feeling the Philippines won't budge and Filipinos couldn't care less about it.lol! black travel warning against the philippines by HK... so it means that this country is more "dangerous" than Iraq or Syria.;)
zvichadashote
pangkf: We don't want types like you to visit the Philippines. Anyway, you won't have time to be a tourist if you need to do your laundry, housekeeping, baby sitting because your helper got smart and left HK to go back home where she is poor, but at least not abused or discriminated against.
allan94
hey zvi
i gather u r a filipino bec u resent your maids working in hk. maybe if u can get your act together and vote for a non corrupt govt, maybe get a job yourself, improve your country, then maybe u can stop your countrywomen coming to hk and other countries to be maids and hookers...
if i were a filipino, i would be so ashamed.....
instead of railing on other countries who hire the maids and hookers, you should spend more time criticising your own people.
Yknot
Allan94, your comments show you know little about politics or life in the Philippines. It would be better to say nothing than to display your prejudice and ignorance!

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