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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 6:26pm
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

Allan94, your comments show you know little about politics or life in the Philippines. It would be better to say nothing than to display your prejudice and ignorance!
Economic action will hurt the business. In turn , the business will feedback to their government who will in turn
reconsider to take more appropriate action.
The west also care about the human lives. The Asian also care about the human lives.
This is not a face issue so simple.
Dai Muff
Really? Do you care about human lives when HK people visiting the mainland are killed due to negligence?
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.
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.
Allan94, no need to spread your bigotry and prejudice. There are good and bad people in every country and racial group.
Oh no! Lockhart road will be dead! Everyone will push off to Lan Kwai now!
why do you see so many ' Disliked' to your comment??



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