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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 2:09am
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

chanaa, please look at the footage of how the rescue was performed, how inefficient the Philippine National Police was. They even refused a fully trained unit to take part in the rescue operation. For that Aquino do need to apologize. Incidentally have you seen senior commanders away for their evening meal during a hostage situation? All of the responsible senior officers and the secretary in charge of Metro Manila Police were away from the scene for supper.
I hope this discourages foreign maids to come to Hong Kong. The price of this help must be increased. Right now even the lowest rungs of society, low education, low quality human filth have access to these maids.
Simon Berry
Love the sarcasm!
You missed the - NOT
It's perfectly logically for Estrada as Manila's Mayor to take responsibility. HK Govt is still using children playground logic to push for a Presidential apology. I just hope President Aquino will just do us HKers a favour and put our good intentioned but misguided govt out of its misery and apologise.
I know we can't do anything as we are just a small city. But I will NOT go to the hell Phillippines just because of that rubbish government. WIthout the assistance from the States and Japan, I don't know how that country would be like!! One more thing, Philippines maids are not so indispensable in Hong Kong. Life will go on, no worries!
hey zvi
i gather u r a filipino bec u resent your maids working in hk. maybe if u can get your act together and vote for a non corrupt govt, maybe get a job yourself, improve your country, then maybe u can stop your countrywomen coming to hk and other countries to be maids and hookers...
if i were a filipino, i would be so ashamed.....
instead of railing on other countries who hire the maids and hookers, you should spend more time criticising your own people.
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.
This is the life of a human being.why the government cannot apologize and let the
matter rest
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.



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