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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:13am
NewsHong Kong

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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This article is now closed to comments

CY is bending over to be popular and is able to please our commie masters at the same time. this is childish and pointless - it will encourage more racism. Let's just drop this = it's already too late.
By the way Aquino has not asked for an apology for the death of the Philippine doctor killed by terrorists in Tianamen square - That's because he knows he won't get one.
Urban kid
Can’t we just put this to rest? It’s 3 years after the event! The families and the victims deserve closure and our sympathy but who is benefiting from this? Only the Hong Kong politicians trying to court popularity. Also it stirs up all sorts of anti-Filipino and racialist sentiment which is incredibly bad for the international image of Hong Kong. Anyway, it’s too little too late. Why did the Hong Kong Government not take tough action 3 years ago?
At some point, some incident will happen to put the shoe on the other foot. It will be interesting at that point to see how HK people react to similar comments and demands coming from Manila.
From the article: "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."
I remember reading about this apology. Estrada said the incident happened in Manila, his jurisdiction, and therefore it is his duty to apologize for the local policemen's incompetence; however, an HK official said that the president must apologize. I don't get it.
Introverted puppets controlled by a master puppeteer once again make complete idiots of themselves by being so small minded and following the commie dream.
Dai Muff
When I see the CY administration demanding reparations for tourists killed by negligence on mainland vacations I will support you. Until then, this is flagrantly racist.
A desperate move by a desperate man.
You clearly do not know what your talking about. A person in Hong Kong must have a certain amount of income a month and certain level of assets to be able to hire a foreign maid. No poor person in Hong Kong will have that kind of asset or income.
Hong Kong is shooting its own foot. I hope the Phil government will discourage their people from coning to HK to work. Let's see what happens then.
very petty minded step...its has Mainland China's blessings...Shame on HK



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