• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 3:52pm
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

So carmeledwin, should CY Leung apologize to Erwiana? He expects an apology for the Manila tragedy. Perhaps he should give an apology to Erwiana first?
Let me be the first to say: Asia's World City!
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.
Can we just give this issue a rest already?
This is the "FIRST PHASE" of the sanction. Additional phases will follow including potentially sending the 150,000+ OFWs in HK home. What happen during that bus hostage situation never should had happened and the after math was a nothing more then a slap on the face to the people of Hong Kong. CY may not be glowing in popularity right now but at least he got the balls to stand up for the victims of that horrible day.
you watched it all on tv right ? Read the hk papers & listen to the brainless politicians ?
I did too carmeledwin, but i used my brains to filter off the ****.
I would suggest CY & HK apologise for not protecting the abused indon maid, but then again, how do you control the action of one stupid HK woman ?
This is the work of one man in one isolated incident, and the the city of Manila is to blame. The head of a nation state does not have to go on his knees to apologize to a city state. The city of manila has already apologized for their botched attempt at saving the victims. Meanwhile a Filipino Doctor has died in Tienanmen Square in Beijing at the hands of a tourist last year, and maids die all the time from falling off buildings and abuse of owners in Hong Kong... Aquino has not asked for apologies for them... because they are isolated incidents.
this is a stupid policy. arent u just adding visa costs to all the filipino maids coming to hk? they will probably pass the cost to hk employers. so who r u punishing.??
the phillipines is already poor and in a mess. the poor there cant afford to travel , and the rich dont like to come to hk/china anyway...
the idiot president will just laugh it off, anyway.
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.;)



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