Hong Kong travel sanctions against Philippines take effect

Hong Kong/Manila – It was August 2010 when seven Hong Kong residents and a tour guide were killed in a bungled police hostage rescue in a tour bus in Manila. Since then, requests to the Philippine government to apologise for the incident have gone unheeded. Finally, the Hong Kong regional government imposed travel sanctions on Philippine diplomats and officials entering Hong Kong. And those sanctions went into effect on Feb. 5th.

More than three years since the incident, the Hong Kong government finally decided it was time to take a big step. And it did.

On Wednesday, first round sanctions against the Philippines came into effect.

Visa free travel privileges for Philippine diplomats stand withdrawn.

Roughly 800 diplomats and officials will be affected each year.

A former Secretary for Security, and present Legislative Council member Regina Ip says this is just a warning to the Philippines.

“We are ready to take action if our demands are not met,” Ip says.

In August, 2010, a sacked Manila policeman took 22 Hong Kong tourists and three Filipinos hostage on their tourist bus.

He shot dead seven tourists. He and a tourist guide were subsequently killed in a bungled police rescue.

Tse Chi Hang’s brother was the tour guide killed. Since then, the family has been in a constant battle for justice.

For the others, day to day living is difficult. Some are still undergoing dozens of cosmetic surgeries, just so they can regain their smile. No one knows if they will get justice or not, but many say, at least the sanctions are a step forward.”

Some are calling for tougher measures against the Philippines, including banning all Philippine passport holders.

But with almost 160,000 Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong, some say, that measure will cut both ways. Source: CCTV