Pilloried on websites and in media across the mainland and Hong Kong, accused of wrecking the city's reputation as a tourism destination and afraid to show her face in public for two weeks, the guide caught on video berating tourists for not spending enough finally stood up yesterday and said 'sorry'. Li Hau-chun, who was seen telling the group that if they didn't pay in this life they would do so in the next, said her outburst had been provoked by a customer who used 'strong language' to complain about being steered into shops as part of the tour. 'At that time I was very angry and I couldn't control my emotions,' said the thirty-something divorced mother-of-one who came to Hong Kong from Hubei a decade ago. The woman whose outburst recalled that of 'Bus Uncle' four years ago - when a phone video of a middle-aged man haranguing a bus passenger became an internet hit - looked startled as she apologised. Surrounded by dozens of journalists and cameras in a crowded room, Li, dressed in a black blouse, blue jeans with a Louis Vuitton belt and high-heeled sandals, said: 'First of all, I want to say I'm very sorry. I hope our Hong Kong citizens and mainland comrades will forgive my mistake and the misunderstanding.' She said she had been hiding for two weeks because she did not have the courage to face the public. 'This incident hit me greatly and I couldn't face it ... I had a mental breakdown and couldn't sleep for more than 10 days.' She said she might have been emotionally affected by family affairs on the mainland at the time of the outburst. She had asked her company for a holiday but the company said it was the peak season and it had insufficient manpower. Li said the seven-minute video clip uploaded by a member of the tour group had not shown the happy moments the visitors had experienced, especially on the first day of their trip, and their expressions of appreciation for the job she had done. Explaining why the tourist's complaint about shopping upset her, she said that according to consent letters the group signed at the beginning of the trip in March the clients agreed to spend the first day sightseeing and the second in the shops. Li said the 26 visitors spent about HK$13,000 in a jewellery shop, an average of HK$500 per person,. She said she earned only a commission, usually 2 per cent to 6 per cent of sales plus a tip of HK$50 per passenger. The video clip that brought her notoriety shows Li shouting at the group from Anhui , an eastern province, for scrimping in the jewellery store, telling them 'it's OK to be poor at home' but not in Hong Kong. She goes on: 'It's you who owe me here, not me owing you ... I provided you with food and accommodation but you people will not give. If you don't repay the debt in this life you will have to repay it in your next life.' Li's account was challenged by the tourist, known only as Wang, who uploaded the video clip online and started the furore. Wang, who said earlier that the group had spent HK$400,000, said yesterday they had done nothing to provoke the guide. A guide for nearly eight years, Li said there had been only one previous complaint against her, in 2007 when she had been unable to take her group to some tourist spots because of a typhoon. Li, who lives in Hong Kong with her 17-year-old daughter, said she enjoyed her job as a tour guide because it allowed her to speak in her native Putonghua, and hoped she could continue in the job. 'I welcome all visitors from the mainland to come to this city and I will for sure treat them with sincerity, as well as show excellent service and attitude,' she said. It would be unfair if the Travel Industry Council revoked her licence as a warning to other guides. Tourism Board chairman James Tien Pei-chun welcomed Li's apology and said he hoped mainland tourists would forgive her. The tourism representative in the Legislative Council, Paul Tse Wai-chun, said the council should not revoke Li's licence. The council's executive director, Joseph Tung Yao-chung, praised Li for her courage in making a public apology but said the council's compliance committee would discuss the question of her licence later. He said both the guide and Golden Win International Travel Services, which received the mainland tour group in Hong Kong in March, had until August 2 to submit reports on the incident to the council.