Holidaymakers who attack their tour guides may be barred from Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 August, 2014, 4:44am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 August, 2014, 5:34pm

Holidaymakers in Hong Kong who attack their tour guides could be barred from the city, the Immigration Department said yesterday, following three attacks in less than a week.

In one episode a 38-year-old tourist launched an attack after his guide asked him not to smoke.

And in another a 32-year-old man is alleged to have attacked a woman guide in Hung Hom. He was charged with common assault and will appear in Kowloon City Court today.

The Immigration Department has called on visitors to the city to use words rather than violence to settle disputes.

"There are many ways to settle their dissatisfaction or complaints instead of breaking the law in Hong Kong," William Fung Pak-ho, assistant director of enforcement and removal assessment, said yesterday.

This week's complaints from tour guide unions about the attacks - two on Tuesday and one on Sunday - stood in contrast to a string of earlier complaints from tourists about abuse by guides, which led to a shake-up of tour regulations.

Last month, a tourist was fined HK$1,500 for injuring a guide after being denied the chance to visit Disneyland.

Travel Industry Council chairman Michael Wu Siu-ieng said the council and a tour guide union would meet the Security Bureau today.

"We want to condemn the violence … and request more police officers be stationed at main shopping centres," he said.

The council will write to shops and tour agencies, asking them to report any incidents to the police and the council. It will also arrange meetings with unions to evaluate the magnitude of the problem.

"We are still trying to find the reasons behind the recent rise [in attacks]," he said. "Employers have a responsibility to protect their staff, and should report any case of violence to the police."

The Immigration Department said one in 10,000 foreign tourists and three in 100,000 mainland tourists were convicted of crimes while visiting the city.

Fung said tourists had many ways to express discontent, including contacting their tour companies or complaining to the Tourism Commission.