• Mon
  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 9:08pm
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

Dai Muff
Because the life of human beings are being used for obvious political ends by Beijing.
Urban kid
Well now there’s been a curt refusal by the Philippine Government to officially apologise. They are accusing the HKSAR of reopening the issue as say they there was closure 3 years ago with the previous SAR administration. What will you do now CY?
how long it will take for a Philippine Official or diplomat to take an Ordinary passport? i bet not more than an hour. then why bother to STOP visa free access on official and Diplomatic passports? Actually access should have been denied to all Philippine passport not matter ordinary or officials. these sanctions will NOT bring any fruitful result because Philippine is filled with corruption in all aspects.
Government take measures like Taiwan. Ban all fruit from Philippine, put restrictions and taxes or very high taxes on Philippine products. Reduce their diplomatic access to Hong Kong by NOT having direct access to official but limited to secretaries only.
Sanctions? You can't be serious...

Asia cares too much about face.
And by banning Filipino workers in HK this fixes nothing on what occurred in 2010. There would be as much HKers tears as Filipinos . Apologies have been made, the victims hv been compensated by the travel agency's insurer and everyone that saw the hostage rescue is horrified by the incompetence and in effectiveness of the Manila police. Its no doubt a tragedy. CY is doing a balancing act by sanctioning diplomats and business travellers as a warning and therefore be seen to be doing something but not affecting tourism or employment.
Bang on Stagger.
The Philippines was invaded by both the USA and Japan, and so they share some historical guilt associated with problems of development. The Philippines is also a democracy, as are Japan and the USA. Democracies now tend to stick together, especially when faced with threatening behaviour from dictatorships.
These sanctions against Filipinos have been orchestrated by the Peking dictatorship, in reprisals against the Philippines and Peking's patently absurd claims to islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Remember, the Peking dictatorship routinely executes/murders its own citizens as well as Filipinos. (It doesn't dare murder Americans or Japanese, of course.) The Filipino government never murders its own people, nor foreign nationals.
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.
i wouldnt call it balls. I call it stupidity, brought abt by politicians & idiots like yourself. HK people need to get off their high horse & get into the real world
Dai Muff
Oh grow up. HK people should not be killed in negligent car crashes on the mainland. Guess what? They are.



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