A union fears tour guides will become the “scapegoat” under a new law and is calling on the government to clearly define the legal responsibilities of travel industry practitioners. The call comes days after lawmakers received draft legislation proposing harsher penalties for the travel industry, with tour guides and operators having to bear liability in cases involving serious misconduct, such as “forced shopping”. Wong Ka-ngai, chairman of the Hong Kong Tour Guides General Union, which represents 2,000 people, claimed members could be made the “scapegoat” for travel agency wrongdoings because they had to obey their bosses to keep their jobs. Mainland tour guide who led group to use bogus Hong Kong visas jailed “All the shopping activities are arranged by travel agencies not tour guides,” Wong said, adding most guides, including himself, had no choice as their incomes relied entirely on commissions from shops. The draft law states “a tourist guide must not force any inbound tour member to enter or stay in any shop, or engage or otherwise get involved in any act coercing any inbound tour member into shopping”. Wong said agencies would not assign tour groups to guides in future, adding that 90 per cent of members on mainland inbound tours still did not receive a basic salary. “We welcome the government’s intention to better regulate the industry, but some terms in the draft legislation need a clearer definition,” he said. ‘He told lie after lie’: Hong Kong tour guide found guilty of assaulting mainland Chinese tourists, after charges downgraded from manslaughter Wong also raised concern at the draft law requiring that “a tourist guide must take all reasonable steps to safeguard the safety and interest of any member of the inbound tour group”. He said this could be extended to several issues involving health and the safety of property. Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said the relationship between agencies and guides had been “abnormal” in the past decade, as many guides were not official employees. “Travel agencies are also worried that the misconduct of tour guides could bring them legal liabilities,” he said. Yiu urged the government to identify the legal responsibilities of both parties in order to avoid incidents that tarnished the city’s image as a top tourist destination.