Hong Kong says no anti-Philippines sentiment in the city
HONG KONG – Hong Kong authorities said Monday there was no anti-Philippines sentiment in the city and dismissed rumours that employers sacked Filipino maids to vent their anger over the Manila hostage bloodbath.
Messages circulated among the city’s 200,000-strong Filipino community last week claiming that more than 30 Filipino domestic helpers lost their jobs after the hostage crisis, in which eight Hong Kong tourists were killed.
Fears within the migrant community were further heightened by unfounded reports that three Filipinos were killed in Hong Kong last week.
Ngai Wing-chit, deputy secretary for security, said there was no evidence to support any of the rumours.
“We do not see the emergence of an anti-Philippines sentiment in Hong Kong,” he told a press briefing.
“I have asked my immigration colleague to check the actual situation, and they do not see a trend of Filipino maids being sacked.”
The average number of early job contract terminations among Filipino helpers remained unchanged at about 150 a day last week, he said, citing immigration statistics from June to August.
Ngai also praised the tens of thousands of Hong Kong people who participated in a memorial rally on Sunday for being calm and orderly.
There had been concerns about clashes between the rally group and mourners at a candlelight vigil held in central Hong Kong by Filipino unions.
Disgraced ex-policeman Rolando Mendoza, armed with an assault rifle, hijacked a busload of Hong Kong tourists in Manila on August 23 in an apparent bid to win his old job back and be cleared of extortion charges.
Eight tourists and the gunman were killed in the final stages of the 12-hour ordeal, when ill-equipped police launched an assault on the bus in a drama that unfolded live on television screens around the world.
Questions have been raised over whether the victims were killed by the hostage-taker or the police.
Philippine police said Sunday they were certain that the Hong Kong tourists were killed by Mendoza, rather than by police bullets during the ill-fated rescue operation.
The Philippines on Monday allowed Hong Kong police to examine the tourist bus, but told them they could not interfere in an investigation into the tragedy.