Three Filipino tourists jailed in Hong Kong

Marje Pelayo   •   July 3, 2019   •   2305

Courtesy : Photoville International

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed giving assistance to three Filipino tourists who were sentenced to five-month imprisonment in Hong Kong for using forged documents.

According the DFA, the three call center employees were involved in a supposed “free Hong Kong tour” which turned out to be a scam.

They opened bank accounts, specifically with Bank of China and Standard Chartered Bank, using falsified documents.

Despite successfully opening an account, authorities suspected that the accounts were to be used for money laundering activities and so arrested the three when they returned to the bank.

“Consul General Antonio Morales reported that the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong has been providing in-kind support and legal advice to the three Filipinos, including jail visits to ascertain their condition,” the DFA said.

Sentenced on February 18, the three Filipinos pleaded guilty to two counts of “using a false instrument” before the Hong Kong Magistrates’ Courts.

For this, Morales said the three are expected to be released in March after serving a reduced sentence for admitting the offense.

Hong Kong leader says she hoped peaceful protest as turning point

Robie de Guzman   •   August 20, 2019

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday (August 20) she hoped the peaceful protest over the weekend was the start of an effort to restore peace in the city and that the government would speak to peaceful protesters as well as tackle complaints against police.

Lam said the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPPC), had set up a task force to investigate complaints about police actions, whilst also reiterating that there is no plan to revive the controversial extradition bill.

“One is an important fact-finding study in addition to a very robust system to investigate and look at the complaints against police over this prolonged period of confrontations and violence. The other is a more rare arrangement, is for the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Council), which is statutory and independent, to create a fact finding study into the causes and the facts of these incidents. So, I hope that this is a very responsible response to the aspirations for better understanding of what has taken place in Hong Kong,” she said.

“The second area of work that I have announced, which will give us much better basis to address some anxieties and differences in society, is we will start immediately a platform for dialogue with people from all walks of life. So, this is something that we want to do in a very sincere and humble manner. I and my principal officials are committed to listen to what the people have to tell us and we want to reach out to the community as soon as possible,” she added.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied peacefully in the Chinese-ruled city amidst torrential rain on Sunday (August 18) in the eleventh week of what have often been violent demonstrations.

Aside from Lam’s resignation, demonstrators have five demands – complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, a halt to descriptions of the protests as “riots”, a waiver of charges against those arrested, an independent inquiry and resumption of political reform. (Reuters)

(Production: Ronn Bautista, Joyce Zhou, Juarawee Kittisilpa)

DFA monitors welfare of 13 Pinoy seafarers abducted off Cameroon coast

Marje Pelayo   •   August 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippine government is closely monitoring the status of the 13 Filipino seafarers who were reportedly abducted off the waters of Cameroon.

In a statement, the DFA confirmed that the Philippine Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria is currently working to verify the report.

Embassy officials, likewise, were given instructions to make representations with the concerned authorities to ensure the safety and security of the Filipino seafarers held in the piracy incident off the coast of Cameroon.

The Department of Foreign Affairs assured that it is in close contact with the seafarer’s manning agency and their families for updates of the case.

Chinese paramilitary continues to hold exercises near Hong Kong border

Robie de Guzman   •   August 16, 2019

Hundreds of members of China’s People’s Armed Police (PAP) continued to conduct exercises on Friday (August 16) at a sports stadium in Shenzhen.

Paramilitary soldiers could be seen marching and holding anti-riot drills outside of the Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre.

Hundreds of armored vehicles remained parked on surrounding streets.

The Shenzhen stadium sits across the water from Hong Kong’s rural hinterland, near a bridge straddling the border.

Chinese state media have made several mentions of exercises in Shenzhen.

The U.S. State Department expressed concern on Wednesday (August 14) that the People’s Armed Police could be deployed across the border in Hong Kong to break up protests wracking the city. (REUTERS)

(Production: Martin Pollard, Joseph Campbell)

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