Firing, killing of Filipino workers in HK 'unfounded' rumors, says Hong Kong government
In an effort to clarify what it sees as “exaggerated” reports in the media of anti-Philippine sentiment in Hong Kong following the killing of eight Chinese tourists in Manila, the Hong Kong government has released a statement saying that reported rumors of the firing and killing of Filipino workers in Hong Kong are “unfounded.”
According to the statement, sent out by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade office in Canada, stories in some Philippine, Hong Kong, and Toronto-based Chinese media have reported claims that Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong had been fired as retribution for the botched rescue attempt by Philippine police during the August 23 hostage crisis.
It also states that reported rumors of three Filipinos being killed are unfounded, and that the reported mistreatment of Philippine senator Jinggoy Estrada by Hong Kong border officials is untrue.
“We just want to clarify…that there is no anti-Philippine sentiment in Hong Kong,” says Stephen Siu, spokesperson for the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Toronto.
“There have been some inaccurate reports in the media, and that’s why the statement was issued…This is a global village, an international community, so when such reports come out, not only people in the Philippines, but people in Canada and in Hong Kong would…read those reports.”
The government statement says there was no unusual spike in termination claims made by Filipino domestic helpers in the days following the hostage taking, and that Hong Kong police had not received reports of any killing of domestic helpers.
Not long after the hostage taking, the Philippine’s Daily Tribune reported that “Hong Kong residents outraged by the Philippine government’s handling of the hostage crisis have reportedly turned their ire on Filipinos working in the Chinese territory.”
On August 31, Agence France-Presse (APF) in Hong Kong reported that text messages had circulated around Hong Kong’s Filipino community claiming that “more than 30 Filipino domestic helpers lost their jobs after the hostage crisis,” and that three Filipinos had been killed in Hong Kong. AFP, however, called the claims of murder “unfounded.”
In an interview with Chinese News, Siu confirmed that similar reports appeared in Hong Kong media, as well as Chinese and Hong Kong subsidiary newspapers in Toronto.
It has been estimated that Hong Kong’s population of seven million includes more than 100,000 live-in Filipino domestic workers.
According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine senator Jinggoy Estrada claims that a male Hong Kong immigration officer threw his passport back at him after the book had been stamped. Estrada told the Inquirer that he used his “regular” passport and that the guard did not realize who he was.
Hong Kong’s official statement, however, says Estrada was processed via a VIP channel, a process Siu says would have excluded Estrada from various routine immigration procedures, such as customs checks and an interview.
“He was offered the VIP passage in Hong Kong, and he used that,” says Siu. “He was using the VIP facilities.”
Siu says that while many people in Hong Kong are not happy with how Philippine police handled the hostage crisis, the majority are not taking their anger out on the Filipino people. He did, however, acknowledge anger still exists in Hong Kong over the incident.
在8月23日，怒气冲冲的菲律宾前警员Rolando Mendoza劫持了一辆旅游大巴，将上面的15名香港游客扣为人质。手持自动步枪的Mendoza要求恢复工作。在经过12小时的对峙后，菲律宾警方对 巴士发动了攻击，他们敲碎了车窗并投掷了催泪瓦斯弹，Mendoza因此向人质开枪扫射，结果导致8人死亡，其余多人重伤。
On August 23, a disgruntled former Filipino police officer took 15 Hong Kong tourists hostage on their tour bus. Armed with an assault rifle, Rolando Mendoza demanded he be given his job back. The 12-hour standoff ended when Philippine police raided the bus, smashing windows and dispensing tear gas. Mendoza opened fire on his captives, killing eight and seriously wounding others.
Days later, it was reported an estimated 80,000 Hong Kongers marched in the streets, denouncing the Philippine government and its police for botching the rescue operation, as well as for instances such as Filipino police posing for pictures beside the wrecked bus a day after the tragedy.
“Everyone saw how the Philippine government mishandled the situation,” protestor Andy Wong told one media outlet. “As a Chinese person, I need to demand justice.”
Lam Yi-Lai, a Hong Kong woman reportedly known for recently running in a municipal by-election in the Hong Kong district of Kowloon, posted a video on her Facebook page after the tragedy, calling for Hong Kongers to fire their Filipina maids as a form of retribution.
“They looked at the coffins containing the corpses of our Hong Kong people and they smiled so happily,” Lam allegedly says in the video. “Hey, maybe they are thinking, ‘We have been your…servants for decades already. So you get your just desserts today.”
Lam reportedly goes on to say that Hong Kong people have the right to fire their Filipina workers, and claims she had already fired hers.
Siu confirmed that the woman in the video is Lam, but that most Hong Kong people do not share her “controversial” views.
“She is a very controversial person, and tries many times, using many occasions…to make herself known,” says Siu, after telling Chinese News he had not heard of Lam before seeing the video. “We are not allowed to comment on individual people. And you have to imagine, there are seven million people in Hong Kong. There are bound to be different voices.”
萧同时表示，卑诗省议员Mable Elmore (Vancouver-Kensington选区)已经从当地的菲律宾社区搜集签名，以表达对加国及海外香港人的同情和支持。
Siu also said that British Columbia MLA Mable Elmore (Vancouver-Kensington) has collected signatures from the Filipino community there, offering sympathy and support to the Hong Kong people both here and abroad.
编注：英翻中：秋枫。Translator (English to Chinese): Qiu Feng. 如果你对本文有任何评论，或有任何社区、社会和生活问题需要大中报回答或调查，请将你的评论或问题细节以电话留言（416-504-0761 转215分机），或传真（416-504-4928），或电邮（firstname.lastname@example.org），或电邮给Terry Davidson（email@example.com）。你可以匿名为本报提供调查线索，但调查线索应包括当事人的联系电话或地址、 发生问题的时间及地址等信息。