• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 4:42am
NewsHong Kong

Protesting cruise ship passengers not bullies, says lawmaker Ann Chiang

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 February, 2014, 1:24pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 February, 2014, 4:57am

Passengers involved in a sit-in on a cruise ship were not "bullies", a lawmaker who joined the protests said amid criticism that they caused unnecessary delays.

"They are not bullies. They refused to leave because they had limited bargaining power," said Ann Chiang Lai-wan, one of about 300 passengers who refused to leave the Costa Victoria on Thursday, unhappy at the level of compensation offered for missing a stop in Vietnam's Ha Long Bay.

Chiang said she was not seeking compensation as she had booked the cruise individually rather than joining a tour.

Her comments came after a fellow passenger said on a radio programme that she was "ashamed" of the protest.

"The cruise company offered its apologies and opened its restaurants ahead of schedule," the unnamed passenger said, adding that activities were organised to keep passengers entertained when the half-day trip to the Unesco World Heritage site was called off.

The protests, which broke up late on Thursday after about 17 hours, delayed the journey of 2,000 passengers booked on a trip to Malaysia.

The confrontation was sparked, in part, by a fiery meeting with a representative of travel agency Miramar on Wednesday, passenger Peter Cheung, 57, said.

"The representative said something like 'you guys are just causing a stir for money'," said Cheung, who was one of the last passengers to leave the boat at 10.30pm. "One traveller was so angry hearing that comment he took out a pile of US dollars and threw them at the rep."

Cheung said the rep had told passengers the compensation would be limited to the estimated HK$340 per head cost of the Ha Long Bay stop, part of a six-day cruise that cost up to HK$18,000.

"The rep was quite immature … he didn't even say sorry," Cheung said.

The mood deteriorated further when the ship's crew refused to provide water during the protest, and when Miramar's general manager, Alex Lee Chun-ting, told a radio programme that passengers had "hijacked" the ship.

"Even an educated person would become irrational after hours without water," Cheung said, adding the one incensed man threatened to jump overboard. Passengers only received drinks after the Travel Industry Council intervened in the afternoon.

Passenger Windy Kwok Pui-fong said matters might have turned out differently had Miramar bosses started discussions with disgruntled tourists early in the morning.

"I can't believe the crisis management of such a big agency could be so poor," she said.

Miramar manager Lee, who met 20 passengers at midnight on Thursday, refused to comment on his staff's behaviour.

On Thursday, he suggested the passenger who threw money had shown poor manners.



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

If you believe you are legally entitled to a higher compensation than offered, go the legal way. Write one or two letters demanding the compensation you believe you are legally entitled to and if you can't find an agreement, turn to the Small Claim Tribunal which cost you only HK$ 20 to HK$ 40 and let an adjudicator decide what you are entitled to. Of course the risk is that you might be entitled to less than Miramar offered you in the first place.
But blackmailing and occupying someone else's property (not leaving the ship) is not the way an educated, rational and civil person should chose.
This lawmaker should think twice whether she is truly suitable to be a lawmaker having such weird attitude towards settling a dispute.
As HK is a civilised society, we have long established mechanisms to deal with such kind of dispute. I don't think that is appropriate to "occupy" the cruise. There is pointless to said that the passengers had limited bargaining power, they can seek assistance from the consumer council, the travel industry council, or even the courts.
No matter how strong was their argument, their action will not and cannot be justified. They are just blackmailing the companies in the other way round!
The so called lawmaker, has no idea of "rules of law" and "law and order" in mind. What so disappointed. Wholeheartedly wish that the majority of hongkongers will not follow such bad example of practice...
I really hope the cruise company sues every individual that occupied the ship, hence delaying other passengers.
HK is not China, there is a process for claims.
I am at a loss for words. The passengers did say they want compensation ie refund of 30% of the cruise fees yet they are now saying its not the money. Refusing to leave the ship thus delaying the boarding of other passengers makes them open to counter claims from the cruise ship. When CHIANG quoted the passengers had little bargaining power did she mean she was one who could force a settlement. Are the legislators in office for that purpose. These passengers are not poor or the underprivileged and as HK-Lover said could easily have lodged their claims to court.
If the cruise ship decides to sue the passengers for causing delays, it may send a good signal that such "occupy" behaviour won't be tolerated in the future. Some have said that the cruise company won't do such a thing to avoid bad PR, but it sounds like the popular sentiment is not with these passengers. As for the Chiang, very typical of the quality of local politicians - looking for opportunities to create or amplify issues in order to "fix things for the people".
Your vulgar personal comments like this are really not welcome on this forum.
Do you not have anything intelligent to write?
Has C.Y. asked for an apology from Miramar Travel yet?
Better still, why not ask Italy to apologize. The cruise line is based in Genoa . It surely must be Silvio Berlusconi's fault because of attending too many 'bunga bunga' parties?
Still no news when the barge sunk in Vietnam, and when the maritime industry was notified. If Miramar could have known, than they owe compensation. If not, than bad luck. Accidents happen. Be glad you got back home safely.
These people should be ashamed of themselves. By all means complain and take action but to refuse to leave the ship and delay the next boatload of 2000 people is totally unacceptable.
Sue the protestors, especially Ann Chiang. If successful, this should set a precedent to sue those protestors occupying Central later this year.
One tiny step towards embracing the culture from our mother country!
Definitely not bullies. Just regular mainland Chinese scum bags.
With regard to the occupation of the ship the captain should have given the occupiers the alternatives to either they leave the ship or:
1. The ship leaves on time with them on board and they will be charged another full cruise.
2. Police is called to remove and detain trespassers
H C Yao
Ms.Ann Chiang,Lawmaker,is an ignorant woman of Whores this year.
yeah, tell that ugly alex lee to ESAD!!!


SCMP.com Account