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  • Oct 16, 2014
  • Updated: 4:51pm
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POLITICS

Anti-mainlander protest urging curbs on visitor numbers tarnished city, say top officials

Chief secretary and ministers condemn march calling for curbs on visitors as ‘humiliating’ for mainlanders and a stain on Hong Kong’s image

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 February, 2014, 1:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 February, 2014, 7:55am
 

Poll

  • Mainland tourists: 14%
  • Big businesses: 16%
  • Small businesses: 6%
  • Average Hongkongers: 59%
  • Radical groups: 4%
18 Feb 2014
  • Mainland tourists
  • Big businesses
  • Small businesses
  • Average Hongkongers
  • Radical groups
Total number of votes recorded: 570

Four top government officials have attacked Sunday's "anti-locust" protest, saying it humiliated mainland visitors and tarnished the city's image.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor condemned the protesters for disrupting public order, "directly affecting" the relationship with the mainland and harming the tourist industry.

"We will absolutely not tolerate it if such events happen again," said Lam. "I believe such behaviour belongs to only a few extremists and definitely does not represent most citizens' opinions and their values."

Commerce minister Greg So Kam-leung and security minister Lai Tung-kwok also condemned the demonstration, while constitutional and mainland affairs minister Raymond Tam Chi-yuen said the "barbaric and uncivilised activities" ran against Hong Kong's values.

So said: "The harassment of the tourists on Canton Road is very regrettable. We strongly condemn this sort of action." About 100 protesters called on the government to curb the number of mainland visitors. They called tourists "locusts" for overwhelming the city and hogging its resources and were referred to as Shina, a derogatory term used by the Japanese against the Chinese after the first Sino-Japanese war ended in 1895.

The protesters marched from the Star Ferry pier to Canton Road, a street lined with luxury stores popular with mainland tourists. Police intervened after scuffles broke out between the demonstrators and passers-by opposed to the march.

So said: "The government understands that growth in the number of tourists has a certain level of impact on the lives of Hongkongers. But tourism has contributed a lot in creating job opportunities. It makes up 4.5 per cent of our economy."

Lai said the police would determine whether anyone should be prosecuted for disorderly behaviour. "Suitable action will be taken if [the police] have sufficient evidence," Lai added.

But protest convenor Ronald Leung Kam-shing, 37, said he would not be intimidated by the criticism. He said: "I will continue to organise such campaigns because the ministers' remarks today have shown they have ignored the public's demand for a curb on mainland tourists."

He admitted calling the mainland tourists "locusts", but said he did not refer to them as Shina. He did not think either term was discriminatory.

William Wong Wai-sheung, chief executive of the Lukfook jewellery chain, said its Tsim Sha Tsui store was forced to close for 10 minutes by the protest. He said tourists lost their desire to make purchases because of it, and estimated he suffered a loss of HK$500,000 in sales.

The Equal Opportunities Commission condemned the protesters' "contemptuous and vilifying remarks" and said they had raised social tensions.

But a spokeswoman said the "locusts" and Shina remarks fell outside the purview of the Race Discrimination Ordinance, as Hongkongers and mainlanders are of the same race.

Additional reporting by Shirley Zhao

 

 

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24

This article is now closed to comments

johndoe
Those "Senior Ministers" probably never use public transport, or need to line up for application form for schools, or have to go shopping in the New Territories.
pslhk
Copy of my posting of Feb 14th 2014 8:34pm
regarding a related issue
Quote
-
lexishk
-
Inexplicably our unfinished discussion has disappeared
It matters not not because I’ve a copy of it in my office
but because it’s a matter of ethics and honor
We await your justifications
for labelling Putonhua speakers lo cust
-
I’d wonder how you would feel
if the Canadian authority referred to mainlanders as lo cust
in their announcement about the change of its immigration policy?
if Putonhua speakers call people who speak your mother tongue cockroaches?
if Japanese call people of your ethnic group rodents?
-
Unquote
nicolas
mr. minister...HK is no longer consider as an international or world city anymore...influx of mainlander has cause a tremendous depletion in the numbers of foreign tourist in HK...foreigners are annoy by the bad habit and attitude of these mainlanders...they shout, spit in the public and even eat inside the MTR....they're really an eyesore and nuisance to HK society.... now they're trying to eat up or steal the benefit and resources from HK people such as baby milk powder, basic and daily necessities, free education, public hospital etc.....at one time, i was really shock to see shenzhen border security themselves shouting at the mainlander...simply because these moron are so unruly or unbehavior and crossing from one queue to another...just to evade being notice or search by the border security of what they brought back from HK.....really a bunch of purvert and uncivilized mainlander....
oxymoron15
@Nicolas
Blunt, forward and unpretentious, you are a person full of wisdom and not afraid to speak out. Unlike those tree huggers who are oblivious to the wildfire that is spreading and eating us up alive. I get panic attacks when being boxed in by people pulling Trollies. As we speak, I am planning to move back to Canada away from this city of walking dead. Good riddance.
Dai Muff
It is remarkable how these articles and comments fail to admit that most of the hostility was not between the protesters and tourists or "passersby" but between the protesters and the "Caring Hong Kong" goons.
Insulting innocent individual tourists is inappropriate. Insulting cross border traders and smugglers might be another matter.
Of course we should welcome bona fide tourists. The question is how many.
johndoe
It is exactly because of the uncontrolled amount of tourist immigration that people are upset.
lenali2003
The protestors' action is another warning sign of the social discontent against the massive influx of mainland visitors.
if the government still does not adopt timely measures like curbing the number of mainland tourists, the situation may soon get out of control.
lexishk
Proves which side our officials are on.
-
The words I would like to use would no doubt get me censored or banned.
sydmel
For 4.5%GDP ordinary HK people suffer so much. This SAR government serves not the Hong Kong public but mainland residents.
oxymoron15
It's rather late to have a rude awakening for all you bureaucrats and I'm sure they have to say something rhetorical before the motherland rains brimstones onto their heads. The equation is universal: you want their money you pay the price and social unrest is imminent. Maybe if the protesters numbered in the tens and thousands the response would be less invasive.
----
Oddly, when I read this article I had a brief flashback of the articles on Egypt, Syria & Myramar. No connections whatsoever, but an erie and uncanny omen of feelings dawning............*chuckle*
yellow_lynx_cat
Taiwan imposes an upper limit of 4000 mainland tourist per day. It is time for Hong Kong to impose such a upper limit. Furthermore the cost/burden to our society should be paid by them in the form of arrival tax proposed by People Power (and I think it should be at least HKD250 or around 200 RMB in order to curb the influx).
I lived at Northern District, commute daily on East Rail and often have to communte on Tung Chung line. The situation is horrendous. The mainlanders expect Hong Kong people everywhere to accomodate them. Many small shops are forced out of business because the demand for shops serving mainlanders drives up rental prices. The Government is turning a blind eye to the locals' frustration.
dynamco
chanaa got it right: Landlord Nirvana
41m Mainlanders coming here :
makes hotel owners richer
makes restaurant owners richer
makes jewellers richer
makes name brand stores richer
buys up 15 taxi licences at a time @ HKD 8m each
which means the 'free market' property vulture moguls then milk the above in whatever way possible
Meanwhile the unabated influx:
black money in the property market screws the locals who want to buy their own home or rent at a reasonable price w/o any Landlord Tenant protection laws since SARS
inconveniences the vast number of HK residents
adds at least 80m kgs of waste to our landfills per year
local families have to hunt for milk powder
allows instant in & out for Mainland thieves
lowly paid restaurant, bar, hotel staff do not benefit, in fact have far less problems w/ better behaved visitors who do not gob in the street, smoke everywhere & pee/ pooh on the MTR
puts up hotel rates for other visitors making HKG less attractive a stop
However Xenophobia is completely unacceptable behaviour as there are many well behaved Mainlanders who actually put local HKer rude behaviour to shame
Our so-called Govt is totally at fault for allowing this unabated influx to happen as TDNGAS & have no cojones showing the one country alleged two systems fiasco is dead n buried
chanaa
talk abt freedom of speech. I think i just got a post deleted by scmp !
chanaa
very interesting. There was an earlier post by pslhk aka yoda that was deleted as well. Not offensive at all.
Must be a sensitive topic this.......
wang.feng
Yes we would like to take this opportunity to inform you that the comment was deleted in accordance with our User Terms and Conditions because it contained offensive language. Please kindly refrain from posting such comments, or we will block you from visiting or commenting on SCMP.com, and all your subscriber privileges will be terminated. We thank you for your cooperation.
chuchu59
I, for one, had no chance to view the comment. As Board administrator you definitely have the authority to delete comments but couldn't you have simply deleted the offensive words/phrases instead of the whole post?
chanaa
in what way pls ? It contained no expletives ?
dharmakarma
But something needs to be done here, Hk isn't capable to hold that much inflow
chaz_hen
ASIA'S WORLD CITY!!
ejmciii
That was not very nice. Just because some folks coming from across the border from the North may cause some unpleasantness does not justify painting all of them in such a regard. These people should be ashamed of themselves.
sudo rm -f cy
Give up a mere 4.5% of our economy in return for making HK livable again? Deal!
Dai Muff
And the question is who that 4.5% goes to. There is no sales tax so it goes nowhere to help our infrastructure. It goes into the pockets of upmarket landlords and millionaires.
superdx
It could be 20%, and it'd still be worth it. Prices are out of control.
chanaa
prices out of control can be traced back to rental rises. Who owns these properties ? Not mainlanders, but hendos, cks, swires.
borrow rates have not changed significanlty over last 5 years, but rentls have multipled many times over.
it boils down to greedy hk landlords
 
 
 
 
 

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