Hong Kong keeps travel alert for Philippines

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Cotabato blast
At least 8 were killed in a bomb blast in Cotabato, southern Philippines, in early August 2013

Hong Kong has updated its “black travel alert” for the Philippines – a warning to avoid all travel to the nation -, citing the car bomb explosion in Cotabato in early August and the US’ warning of possible kidnapping threats in Mindanao.

The travel alert has been issued in 2010 when a serious hostage-taking incident happened in Manila on August 23, involving  Hong Kong citizens. A disgruntled ex-police officer hijacked a bus full of Hong Kong tourists and held them hostage during a 12-hour stand-off. Survivors of the incident that left 8 dead, including 2 young children, are suing the Philippine government over a failed release operation.

The Hong Kong foreign ministry further cited travel advisories issued by China, Australia, Canada and the UK that all specified Mindanao as an area that should be avoided because of security threats.

“There is a danger of kidnapping throughout the Philippines, particularly in the southern Philippines, including coastal and island tourist resorts, dive sites, and live-aboard dive boats including in remote locations in the Sulu Sea. Terrorists have kidnapped foreigners from these areas in the past,” the Australian travel advisory issued August 1, 2013 read.

The Canadian travel advisory posted on their website and updated August 11 said, “The threat of terrorist activities exists, particularly in Mindanao. Westerners and western interests could be targeted. Bomb attacks could occur at any time in Manila and other key cities, and could target places frequented by foreigners.”

The British travel advisory likewise cited the security situation in Mindanao saying, “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice against all travel to southwest Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of on-going terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups. It advises against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao for the same reasons.”

However, it is unclear if Hong Kong’s renewed travel warning will deter its citizens from traveling to the Philippines, Around 100,000 Hong Kong tourists visit the Philippines every year, even after August 23, 2010.

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

At least 8 were killed in a bomb blast in Cotabato, southern Philippines, in early August 2013

Hong Kong has updated its “black travel alert” for the Philippines – a warning to avoid all travel to the nation -, citing the car bomb explosion in Cotabato in early August and the US’ warning of possible kidnapping threats in Mindanao.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Cotabato blast
At least 8 were killed in a bomb blast in Cotabato, southern Philippines, in early August 2013

Hong Kong has updated its “black travel alert” for the Philippines – a warning to avoid all travel to the nation -, citing the car bomb explosion in Cotabato in early August and the US’ warning of possible kidnapping threats in Mindanao.

The travel alert has been issued in 2010 when a serious hostage-taking incident happened in Manila on August 23, involving  Hong Kong citizens. A disgruntled ex-police officer hijacked a bus full of Hong Kong tourists and held them hostage during a 12-hour stand-off. Survivors of the incident that left 8 dead, including 2 young children, are suing the Philippine government over a failed release operation.

The Hong Kong foreign ministry further cited travel advisories issued by China, Australia, Canada and the UK that all specified Mindanao as an area that should be avoided because of security threats.

“There is a danger of kidnapping throughout the Philippines, particularly in the southern Philippines, including coastal and island tourist resorts, dive sites, and live-aboard dive boats including in remote locations in the Sulu Sea. Terrorists have kidnapped foreigners from these areas in the past,” the Australian travel advisory issued August 1, 2013 read.

The Canadian travel advisory posted on their website and updated August 11 said, “The threat of terrorist activities exists, particularly in Mindanao. Westerners and western interests could be targeted. Bomb attacks could occur at any time in Manila and other key cities, and could target places frequented by foreigners.”

The British travel advisory likewise cited the security situation in Mindanao saying, “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice against all travel to southwest Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of on-going terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups. It advises against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao for the same reasons.”

However, it is unclear if Hong Kong’s renewed travel warning will deter its citizens from traveling to the Philippines, Around 100,000 Hong Kong tourists visit the Philippines every year, even after August 23, 2010.

 

 

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