Hong Kong pulls out of Davis Cup tie with Thailand over safety fears

As Bangkok is now on the government's blacklist, the team cannot even buy travel insurance

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 10:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 10:32pm

Hong Kong pulled out of next week's Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group Two first-round tie against Thailand in Bangkok over worries about the safety of the squad.

"We will not be travelling to Bangkok as planned especially now that there is a state of emergency in the city. We have informed the International Tennis Federation and asked them to reschedule the tie to be played in Hong Kong," Chris Lai, Hong Kong's non-playing captain, said yesterday.

Sports events in Bangkok have been hit, with organisers of golf's Thailand Open saying yesterday that the March 13-16 tournament at Thana City Golf and Sports Club has been postponed due to the 60-day emergency imposed by the Thai government this week.

We don't know what the consequences of pulling out will be. The ITF still thinks it is safe to travel
Chris Lai

"Following this declaration, the Hong Kong government has put Bangkok on a blacklist and has warned Hong Kong people from going there. We also couldn't purchase any travel insurance for the team. All this has resulted in the Hong Kong Tennis Association deciding not to send the squad," Lai said.

The four-strong playing squad of Philip King, Ogi Kolev, Kelvin Lam and Andrew Li were due to leave on Sunday in a bid to get acclimatised before the January 31-February 2 tie. Hong Kong won promotion from Group Three last year.

"We don't know what the consequences of pulling out will be. The ITF still thinks it is safe to travel and have asked us to send an official letter stating the reasons for not going," Lai said.

"I hope they can move the tie to Hong Kong, or at least postpone it until a later date. I think it would be very unreasonable if we had to default the tie due to the circumstances."

Any postponed dates will have to be before April, when the second-round ties will be played.

"If they decide to move it to Hong Kong, we can be ready at short notice to host the event, maybe around the end of February," Lai said.