• Sun
  • Sep 21, 2014
  • Updated: 7:31pm
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

very petty minded step...its has Mainland China's blessings...Shame on HK
It is a joke that the HK administration can even call this tiny bit of action a "sanction". After three years plus of doing nothing, CY is doing these pathetic little piddly things to try to gain popularity. Does he really think such a small gesture would even bother the Philippines?............furthermore, many people have expressed that this ordeal was really a result of a madman who went crazy with a rifle and the HK'rs were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
If the HK'rs and the pathetic CY government expect an apology from the Philippine government, then I think CY should first apologize to the Indonesians for the tragic suffering the recent caregiver "Erwiana" suffered during her time in HK. Her suffering was a result of the incompetency of the HK system so CY should bear the full front of the issue and apologize to the Indonesian people..............if he cannot even do this, then there is no reason on earth why he can demand the Philippine government to apologize to the HK victims.
Hongkong, you are doing the Philippines a favor. By cancelling PH officials' visa-free entry, you are making it difficult for them to spend taxpayer's money on hotels and restaurants and Disneyland. Of course, you will not cancel similar privileges for millions of PH tourists, who spend their hard-earned money to feed the HK economy, will you?
Honestly, what else could the CY administration do? He did not impose the sanctions in the aftermath of the Hainan tragedy though he should have said the sanctions would be delayed. We may say what we wish about the 3 years that have lapsed but spare a thought for the victims and their families.
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.
Please do not drag this matter any longer. Have a holistic agreement and finalize all the tasks and responsibilities . It's only small cost and a lot of losses if we want to safe faces. Is it that f..king difficult to say I am sorry and close the matter. You do it half way and all efforts are wasted. HK have lost a lot of face after the "torture maids" fiasco, no need to fear about your face against HK.
They already have no face.
Sanctions? You can't be serious...

Asia cares too much about face.
The west also care about the human lives. The Asian also care about the human lives.
This is not a face issue so simple.
Dai Muff
Really? Do you care about human lives when HK people visiting the mainland are killed due to negligence?
Disappointing. I was planning a 2 week holiday in Hong Kong next month, but my partner is a Filipina. We don't dare go to Hong Kong for fear of intimidation and discrimination. We'll go to Singapore instead.
Clearly, Hong Kong is no longer a safe and reliable place to go on holiday or for work




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