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  • Oct 24, 2014
  • Updated: 8:11pm
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

Thank you for your decision. Please don't come.
Narrow-minded, petulant, racist, bullying. This is all because Aquino did not immediately take ol' Bow-Tie's phone call during the siege. Protocol clearly determines that he is not obliged to take calls from a non-Head of State. Hong Kong's Leaders need to get over themselves. They run a city which is under the control of China, that is where the power lies and the Head of State resides. That is who Aquino, a president of an actual country, talks to. Mis-guided HK'ers think that that they can bully the Philippines and are just showing to the world their racist tendencies. If some HK's were involved in a siege in New York and Obama didn't take the CE's phone call, but instead redirected the call to the Mayor of New York City, where do you think we would be now? Do you think HK would have the balls to front up to the US and start imposing sanctions? Even after the Mayor of New York had apologised, the President had expressed his sorrow and regret and the US had made financial reparations?? Let's be honest about this situation and call it what it truly is.....racist bullying by Hong Kong. As another poster rightly pointed out, let's see how quickly CY and LegCo apologise to the people of Indonesia.
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?
it's the families who are refusing to let it go! we are just bullying the PI bec we can...
the PI is such a banana republic, thats why CY bullys them like we bully the maids and hookers when they are here.
i mean, when people in hk see a filipina here on the street or in a club, we assume they are maids. when we see them in a bar, we assume they are hookers.
if i were a filipino, i would be so ashamed that my country has descended to this level..that everyone just find it so easy to bully.....
i had a filipino woman work for me in my office. she was a manager. visitors to my office all assume she was a cleaner or a tea lady.....its so sad it became comical.
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're a **** moron if you think 150,000 OFWs will be sent back. HK is not a dictatorship where people get deported en masse under one person's whim.
Good idea Michael! Let's see how happy 150,000 Hong Kongers will be washing their own dirty underwear, cleaning thei own dirty toilets. Some genius thought they could replace Filipino helpers with helpers from Bangla Desh. First goal to bring in 5,000 yielded a paltry 270 of which most left HK due to poor treatment. If CY is despised now, wait until spoiled Hong Kongers have NO helpers!
hey zvi
why do u keep saying that hk will die without filipino maids? I had a filipino maid once, she pinched my baby, stole my money and my jewelry, borrowed from loan sharks who then harassed my family......my life is now much better without the filipino maids. Indonesian maids are much better.
Plus, i had filipino colleagues in my office, who lie and cheat and are incompetent. nobody wants to hire filipinos anyway!!
So, i presume u r a filipino or a PI sympathiser. let me just say this: Growing up in the 60s, i remember that the PI was held as a bastion of culture, economy and democracy....a role model. The PI has managed in 40 years to descend to the become the bowel of asia. So maybe u should focus your energy in salvaging the PI instead of attacking other countries..




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