• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 8:15am
NewsHong Kong

Big support for tougher action on Manila: survey

Hongkongers fear visa restrictions for officials will not force an apology; they want economic sanctions and even a ban on Filipino helpers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 February, 2014, 4:06am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 February, 2014, 7:24am

Watch: Philippine bus hostage-taking incident

Half of Hongkongers believe a ban on visa-free access for Philippine officials will not be effective in forcing the country's leaders to apologise for the 2010 Manila hostage tragedy, a survey found, while just 16 per cent believe it will work.

The Chinese University survey found that 70 per cent of those polled supported economic sanctions, while half believed the government should stop importing domestic helpers from the Philippines.

Hong Kong last month withdrew visa-free access for officials and diplomats from the Philippines, forcing the 800 who visit the city each year to apply for a visa in advance.

The announcement marked the first time Hong Kong had imposed sanctions on a foreign state and came after talks over an apology for the killing of seven Hong Kong tourists and their guide by sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza came to nothing.

Survey co-ordinator Dr Victor Zheng Wan-tai, of the university's Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, said the fact the measure only affected a few officials and had a "very mild" impact on the country as a whole meant Hongkongers had little faith in it.

But he was surprised to see so many people favour economic sanctions, such as suspending procurement of Philippine products by the government.

"Hong Kong is a free and open city. It's hard to imagine we would use methods such as economic sanctions," Zheng said. "The findings reflect that citizens really have deep sympathy for the victims of the hostage crisis and are angry at the Philippine government's unwillingness to apologise and compensate [them]."

The survey of 762 people was conducted between February 16 and 19. The margin of error was 3.5 per cent.

About 75 per cent objected to the view that the Philippine government should not be held responsible as the tragedy was "a crime committed by an individual gunman". Some 90 per cent believed the Philippine government should apologise for the "botched rescue attempt" during which Mendoza started shooting hostages and was killed.

Almost 90 per cent said the Philippine government should apologise. About half said they would only accept an apology from Philippine President Benigno Aquino himself, rather than Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, who has indicated a willingness to say sorry. About a quarter would accept Estrada's apology.

Aquino has repeatedly refused to apologise, citing possible legal liability.

"I feel this survey has shown Hong Kong people's attitude towards the government's handling of the issue," said Tse Chi-kin, brother of slain tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn. "I hope our government can come up with a plan as soon as possible to answer people's demands."

Tse believed economic sanctions would be more effective.

Although the survey found support for a ban on Filipino domestic helpers, organisers noted that those with a higher level of education and incomes over HK$20,000, who were more likely to employ helpers, were "significantly less supportive".



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This article is now closed to comments

Will CY apologize to the Philippine people over the lack of assistance given to Filipino domestic helpers by Immigration and the Labour Department when complaints were made ? Its the same deal and the answer will be NO! Lets move on and stop acting like children or we will have every country wanting an apology for anything remotely linked to a government....
What is this "bungled police operation" that everyone keeps talking about? Is it "bungled" because the Manila police did not shoot the gunman when he appeared at the doors of the bus? In hindsight it appears that they should have, but that is only with the knowledge that the gunman then went on to kill hostages. At the point in time that he appeared at the bus door, they would have been working on the assumption that they could talk him down, or at least get him outside the bus and then no-one gets injured. Are you trying to say that if this had occured in Hong Kong, the HK police would have shot the guy as soon as he appeared at the bus doors??? You have got to be kidding yourself if you do. Accept the fact that this was a terrible tragedy. Grow up and accept the fact that the Mayor of Manila has already apologised. Continue to take the financial reparations that you are so happy to take and then everyone can move on and get back to beating/punishing and treating their helpers like commodities. Oh wait! Do we not want to acknowledge that? That this is all blatant bullying racism. Sorry, my bad.
IF the people of HK insist that, the Philippines president need an apology to the victims of the tragedy??? Then, let's wait and see how Mr. Xi Jinping and CY Leung would react and apologized to the Indonesian maid who was cruelly abused by her employer ...
sssimcs01, you haven't got your facts right. Obama expressed sympathy for the victims of the bombing. That is not an apology. In fact Aquino has likewise expressed sympathy for the victims of the Manila tragedy. This is what Heads-of-state do.
Furthermore, what helpers in Hong Kong want is action, not words. Both the government and the Labour Department refuse to believe that abuse of helpers is widespread in Hong Kong yet surveys tell us that 18% of helpers are physically abused and 6% are sexually abused. Where are the convictions?
@ WillieChow: Have you seen how the people of Hong Kong react to any tragedy/accident/incident in their own city?? They can't whip out their smartphones fast enough! Assist the victim? No thanks! I might miss the chance to film this so I can show it to all my friend/upload it to facebook/sell it to the newspapers, etc.
You're suffering from a severe case of pot-kettle.
A couple of points.
The Manila Govt who had jurisdiction over the "bungled rescue attempt" had already apologized.
Did the US President apologize for the Boston Bombing?? A quick google search come up with nothing on any municipal, state or presidential apology.
It is not something done by a citizen.
It is the bungled action by the police and government officials that Hong Kong people are objecting. And with Aquino smiling when he visited the tour bus after the Hong Kong tourists were killed by the police "rescue", and police officers taking pictures of themselves smiling in front of the bus.
hongkiejj@malay, in the case of Erwiana, a complaint was made to the police by a former helper of Erwiana's employer. No court action followed. This complaint was obviously not dealt with competently with horrendous consequences for Erwiana.
When helpers begin their contracts here they are burdened with debt with by agency fees. Added to this is the 2-week rule which effectively prevents them from leaving an abusive employer.No doubt these were among the factors preventing Erwiana from leaving her employer.
The HK government has been made aware of the actions of agencies and effects of HK's own laws but nothing significant has been done to help HK's helpers. This systemic failure is partially to blame for what has happened to Erwiana and others like her.
I can't believe there are still people who just don't get it. No one is asking for an apology for the actions of a lone gunman. The victims want compensation and an apology for a bungled police operation that resulted in a tragedy. Personally I say scrap the idea of an apology and seek compensation as I feel that any apology would not be sincere.
As for Dave, the government and Labor Dept have both said that the law would be upheld in any abuse cases reported in Hong Kong.
As for "do", the Americans apologized and compensated the family of the victim of the Boston bombing.
Yes, let's definitely send around 160,000 Filipina helpers home and replace them with the 19 helpers who just arrived from Myanmar.



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