• Wed
  • Oct 22, 2014
  • Updated: 4:55am
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

Introverted puppets controlled by a master puppeteer once again make complete idiots of themselves by being so small minded and following the commie dream.
At some point, some incident will happen to put the shoe on the other foot. It will be interesting at that point to see how HK people react to similar comments and demands coming from Manila.
Oh no! Lockhart road will be dead! Everyone will push off to Lan Kwai now!
I long for the day Indonesia will impose sanctions on Hong Kong for the Chief Nitwit's failure to apologise for the recent abuse/torture cases of domestic helpers and his government failure to respond, let alone prevent such things from happening.
A sad day for free port / world village Hong Kong
Allen94, please note that Filipino helpers does not fall into the "officials or diplomats" category, so this has nothing to do with cost to the employers.
If Philippines is such a poor country, they will not be spending that much money on warships and warplanes.
It is high time that Aquino character get off his high horse and apologize to what happened. After all, the fault lies in his police force.
why do you see so many ' Disliked' to your comment??
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.
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?
dont be stupid carmeledwin. Every country needs to spend on their security, especially if they hv china & pirates around the seas.
Aquino doesnt hv to apologise for an act of a deranged man




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