The Foreign Affairs Department on Monday warned Filipino workers and residents in Hong Kong not to join pro-democracy protests that have brought Central Hong Kong into a standstill as the protesters demanded full democracy in a movement that has been dubbed the ‘umbrella revolution.”
Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said that Filipinos caught participating in the protests may be fined HK$5,000 and/or imprisonment for 12 months.
They might also be deported from Hong Kong after serving their sentences and paying the fees.
The Occupy Central, a civil disobedience campaign calling for universal suffrage in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HK SAR), began on September 28 around the government offices in Admiralty.
“The Filipino community and visiting Filipino nationals in HK SAR are advised to avoid venues of these protest actions,” Jose said in a press briefing.
He particularly advised Filipinos from going to Central, Admiralty, Tim Me Avenue, Lung Wei Road, Causeway Bay, Mongkok, Wan Chai and the government headquarters in Tamar “to ensure your safety and avoid being inadvertently perceived as being part of the protest actions.”
Jose said the Public Order Ordinance of HK SAR “takes disorder in public places seriously.”
“Filipinos are further advised to spend their holidays on October 1 [to] 2 away from the Admiralty and nearby areas,” Jose said.
He added that the Philippine government is ready to assist Filipino nationals who will be found participating in the protest activities.
“Hindi naman selecive in case [the Filipinos are] documented or not documented, tinutulungan namin,” Jose said, adding that the agency is not monitoring the militant groups there because the protest is a domestic issue and does not involve the Philippines and its interests.
He, however, said there is no need to raise travel warning in Hong Kong despite the protests. It is also business as usual for the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong, as it monitors the protests on the streets.
“Our consulate is equipped and capable of taking care of the welfare and safety of our Filipinos there,” Jose added.
Hong Kong’s Central business district remained closed off as thousands of protesters defy the police call to retreat. A crowd is also blocking a key road in the government district even after officials declared the demonstrations as illegal.
Demonstrators were also angered by the use of tear gas against them--the first since 2005.
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