In its latest sanction against the Southeast Asian nation, Hong Kong announced on Wednesday, January 29,that it would be imposing sanctions on the Philippines because of its “unacceptable” failure to apologize for a deadly hostage crisis more than three years ago.
Partial Cancellation of Visa-free Arrangement
The current visa-free arrangement for Philippine diplomats and officials visiting the special administrative region of China will be suspended starting February 5, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told a press conference.
Currently, diplomats, officials, and regular tourists, are able to stay in HK for 14 days without a visa.
Leung described the move as the “first phase of sanctions” and added that the government may take more action if it thinks it could be “effective” in securing an apology over the 2010 hostage-taking.
He added that every year, 700 to 800 Philippine diplomats or officials visit Hong Kong on the existing visa-free arrangement.
Hong Kong has been demanding an apology for the incident wherein eight Hong Kong nationals were killed and seven wounded. They were shot after negotiations failed between Philippine authorities and a former Philippine police officer who hijacked a Manila tour bus in protest at his sacking.
“The Philippine side is still unable to meet the demand of the victims and the families for a formal apology despite many rounds of discussions,” Leung said.”The response is unacceptable.”