• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 4:32pm
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.


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

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.
Narrow-minded, petulant, racist, bullying. This is all because Aquino did not immediately take ol' Bow-Tie's phone call during the siege. Protocol clearly determines that he is not obliged to take calls from a non-Head of State. Hong Kong's Leaders need to get over themselves. They run a city which is under the control of China, that is where the power lies and the Head of State resides. That is who Aquino, a president of an actual country, talks to. Mis-guided HK'ers think that that they can bully the Philippines and are just showing to the world their racist tendencies. If some HK's were involved in a siege in New York and Obama didn't take the CE's phone call, but instead redirected the call to the Mayor of New York City, where do you think we would be now? Do you think HK would have the balls to front up to the US and start imposing sanctions? Even after the Mayor of New York had apologised, the President had expressed his sorrow and regret and the US had made financial reparations?? Let's be honest about this situation and call it what it truly is.....racist bullying by Hong Kong. As another poster rightly pointed out, let's see how quickly CY and LegCo apologise to the people of Indonesia.
Simon Berry
I guess CY finally found someone he thinks he can bully.
Dai Muff
Build support by creating a foreign enemy. Old trick.
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
Urban kid
Is Hong Kong a great power then? How pathetic and mean.
It is a joke that the HK administration can even call this tiny bit of action a "sanction". After three years plus of doing nothing, CY is doing these pathetic little piddly things to try to gain popularity. Does he really think such a small gesture would even bother the Philippines?............furthermore, many people have expressed that this ordeal was really a result of a madman who went crazy with a rifle and the HK'rs were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
If the HK'rs and the pathetic CY government expect an apology from the Philippine government, then I think CY should first apologize to the Indonesians for the tragic suffering the recent caregiver "Erwiana" suffered during her time in HK. Her suffering was a result of the incompetency of the HK system so CY should bear the full front of the issue and apologize to the Indonesian people..............if he cannot even do this, then there is no reason on earth why he can demand the Philippine government to apologize to the HK victims.
Disappointing. I was planning a 2 week holiday in Hong Kong next month, but my partner is a Filipina. We don't dare go to Hong Kong for fear of intimidation and discrimination. We'll go to Singapore instead.
Clearly, Hong Kong is no longer a safe and reliable place to go on holiday or for work
A sad day for free port / world village Hong Kong
Hongkong, you are doing the Philippines a favor. By cancelling PH officials' visa-free entry, you are making it difficult for them to spend taxpayer's money on hotels and restaurants and Disneyland. Of course, you will not cancel similar privileges for millions of PH tourists, who spend their hard-earned money to feed the HK economy, will you?
CY is bending over to be popular and is able to please our commie masters at the same time. this is childish and pointless - it will encourage more racism. Let's just drop this = it's already too late.
By the way Aquino has not asked for an apology for the death of the Philippine doctor killed by terrorists in Tianamen square - That's because he knows he won't get one.
Urban kid
Can’t we just put this to rest? It’s 3 years after the event! The families and the victims deserve closure and our sympathy but who is benefiting from this? Only the Hong Kong politicians trying to court popularity. Also it stirs up all sorts of anti-Filipino and racialist sentiment which is incredibly bad for the international image of Hong Kong. Anyway, it’s too little too late. Why did the Hong Kong Government not take tough action 3 years ago?
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.
From the article: "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."
I remember reading about this apology. Estrada said the incident happened in Manila, his jurisdiction, and therefore it is his duty to apologize for the local policemen's incompetence; however, an HK official said that the president must apologize. I don't get it.
Introverted puppets controlled by a master puppeteer once again make complete idiots of themselves by being so small minded and following the commie dream.
Dai Muff
When I see the CY administration demanding reparations for tourists killed by negligence on mainland vacations I will support you. Until then, this is flagrantly racist.
A desperate move by a desperate man.
You clearly do not know what your talking about. A person in Hong Kong must have a certain amount of income a month and certain level of assets to be able to hire a foreign maid. No poor person in Hong Kong will have that kind of asset or income.
Hong Kong is shooting its own foot. I hope the Phil government will discourage their people from coning to HK to work. Let's see what happens then.
very petty minded step...its has Mainland China's blessings...Shame on HK
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?
Let me be the first to say: Asia's World City!
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.
Can we just give this issue a rest already?
This is the "FIRST PHASE" of the sanction. Additional phases will follow including potentially sending the 150,000+ OFWs in HK home. What happen during that bus hostage situation never should had happened and the after math was a nothing more then a slap on the face to the people of Hong Kong. CY may not be glowing in popularity right now but at least he got the balls to stand up for the victims of that horrible day.
you watched it all on tv right ? Read the hk papers & listen to the brainless politicians ?
I did too carmeledwin, but i used my brains to filter off the ****.
I would suggest CY & HK apologise for not protecting the abused indon maid, but then again, how do you control the action of one stupid HK woman ?
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.
this is a stupid policy. arent u just adding visa costs to all the filipino maids coming to hk? they will probably pass the cost to hk employers. so who r u punishing.??
the phillipines is already poor and in a mess. the poor there cant afford to travel , and the rich dont like to come to hk/china anyway...
the idiot president will just laugh it off, anyway.
what's this great hatred against filipinos/philippines anyawy?!! i think its understanble to be disgrunted with their government but to put spiteful comments against its people and their country is just plain and blatant signal of racist hatred against their people. hell, whatever sanctions HK will make against the philippines in the near future, i got the feeling the Philippines won't budge and Filipinos couldn't care less about it.lol! black travel warning against the philippines by HK... so it means that this country is more "dangerous" than Iraq or Syria.;)
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.
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.
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.
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??
Hey...that's my line. But glad someone beat me to it!!
chaz, sorry, I actually wanted to cite you but I wasn't sure of the spelling!


SCMP.com Account