Pro-Beijing group starts petition welcoming mainland visitors to Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 February, 2014, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 February, 2014, 10:45pm

A pro-government, pro-Beijing group started a petition to welcome mainland tourists to the city on Sunday afternoon, just blocks away from a group calling for their numbers to be curbed.

The Voice of Loving Hong Kong collected signatures from tourists and locals near a Mong Kok transit point for mainland tour groups.

The group’s chairman, Patrick Ko Tat-bun, said they would hand the signatures to commerce and economic development secretary Greg So Kam-leung and hold another street demonstration in Causeway Bay next Saturday.

The group said it aimed at showing tourists that Hong Kong is a city of “sincere, hospitable and loving people...who are more than happy to help visitors where necessary”.

The rally comes a weekend after “anti-locust” protesters demanded that the government curb mainland visitors, clashing with opposition groups in Tsim Sha Tsui’s Canton Road - an area that has mostly been taken over by designer brand stores catering to mainland shoppers.

“After last week, we felt the need to do more to ensure our mainland compatriots feel they are welcome here,” said Ko.

“We are against any abuse against tourists. Limiting the number of tourists to the city is like throwing away your rice.”

He also said there was “no market” for any talk about independence or autonomy in Hong Kong.