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HK mulls lifting travel ban on PHL

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HK mulls lifting travel ban on PHL

Post by Justin_Romile on Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:52 pm

The Hong Kong government is considering the lifting of the “black" travel ban it issued on the Philippines following the bloody hostage-taking in Manila last August, which left eight tourists from the special Chinese territory dead.

Hong Kong-based Chinese-language newspaper The Standard quoted Hong Kong security chief Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong as saying that the government of the Chinese territory is looking at the possibility of “adjusting the black outbound travel alert" issued on the Philippines four months ago in the direct aftermath of the hostage fiasco.

Lee’s statement came days after Philippine tourism chief Alberto Lim visited Hong Kong on a “goodwill mission" and assured residents and officials of the Chinese territory of measures being undertaken by the Philippine government to ensure the security of tourists in the country. (See: PHL, HK officials to discuss Manila hostage fiasco)

The newspaper report also quoted an unidentified source privy to the discussions of the Hong Kong and Philippine governments over the past days as saying that both sides have already agreed on an appropriate time to lift the travel ban.

The report also cited Joseph Tung Yao-chung, an official of Hong Kong’s Travel Industry Council, as saying that the first priority is to restore tourists’ confidence in visiting the Philippines considering the “great damage" caused by the hostage fiasco.

Daniel Chan Kin-pang, deputy general manager of Hong Thai Travel—the travel agency that had organized the ill-fated Manila tour last August—also said his agency will not organize any tours until the black travel advisory is lifted.

Last August 23, dismissed police officer Rolando Mendoza hijacked a tourist bus carrying 25 people, including 20 tourists from Hong Kong, in an attempt to get his job back.

The 11-hour hostage drama ended in a bloody carnage, killing eight Hong Kong nationals and the lone hostage taker in a bungled police rescue. (See: Massacre in nation's heart: Timeline of Manila bus siege)

An hour after the hostage crisis ended, the Security Bureau of Hong Kong issued a “black alert warning" on the Philippines, advising its citizens to avoid all travel to the country. (See: HK issues travel ban to RP after hostage crisis)

The Hong Kong government renewed the travel ban on the Philippines earlier this month, this time citing possible terrorist attacks in the country’s capital region. (See: Hong Kong issues black travel advisory on PHL over terrorism threats)—Andreo C. Calonzo/JV, GMANews.TV
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Justin_Romile

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