• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 10:46pm
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.
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!
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.
At this moment, it seems that The Philippine government still think they have done nothing wrong in the incident.
Maybe a heavier sanction is needed so as to 'teach' the government how to deal with international affairs and treat human lives.
It's the Manila govt that had jurisdiction over this matter so you are correct the National Govt of Philippines did not do any thing wrong.
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..
It's not the amount of income that defines low quality in society. there are rich people who are the filth of the earth for mistreating other human beings. I'm sure some of the employers who tortured thei helpers, were financially stable. unfortunately, they seem to be mentally unstable!
Yes, it should be reserved for the filthy rich!
You should read the sentiments of Filipinos online. It's more likely the same even offline. They're glad and they don't care. This is mainly because of the blatant discrimination they've got from other HKers in the past & until now. If the ending of this issue will be the banning of all Filipinos from visiting and working in Hong Kong, there'll be a slight difference in the reaction perhaps but still I think majority will still say.."we don't care!" Those who can afford to travel, shop and dine in Hong Kong are actually saying they would do those activities in the Philippines instead or go to other neighboring places that welcome them. Don't worry about the OFWs, that's the job of our government, labor department and relevant private entities. We were sorry but you've pushed the button so far our dear neighbor.
Not much of the rescue attempt of the hostages went right... There were clearly incompetence but neither the Manila Govt or Philippine Govt committed any wrong by embarking on the rescue attempt. The wrong was the gunman holding the hostage.



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