Date
20 November 2017
Travel Industry Council's Joseph Tung Yao-chung (right) has apologized to tour guides for not taking enough action to protect their interests. Photo: Apple Daily
Travel Industry Council's Joseph Tung Yao-chung (right) has apologized to tour guides for not taking enough action to protect their interests. Photo: Apple Daily

Tour guides seek protection after violent incidents

About 40 tour guides in Hong Kong staged a protest at the offices of the Travel Industry Council on Tuesday, calling on the council’s executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung to step down for failing to safeguard their interests.

The protest came after a female guide was attacked by a 22-year-old mainland tourist last month. The visitor is said to have grabbed the tour guide by the neck and shouted at her when his demand for a Disneyland trip in the morning, instead of the scheduled time in the afternoon, was rejected, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.

The mainland tourist was arrested by the police and fined HK$1,500 (US$193).

Tour guide representative Lam Siu-lun said Tung has always spoken up for visitors but not for the local tour guides.

“If a visitor is beaten up, [Tung] will arrive at the scene immediately. But when the tour guides are bullied, he do not show any care,” Lam said, adding that the Travel Industry Council “is supposed to be protecting us, not the tourists.”

A female tour guide who took part in the protest said that when she was leading a shopping tour to a jewelry shop in Hung Hom in May this year, three visitors from Xinjiang had assaulted her. The tourists alleged that the tour guide had affected their shopping mood because her voice was too loud and her attitude was bad, according to the report.

Tung admitted that he knew about last month’s attack on the tour guide and that follow-up action was not taken on the incident. He apologized to the protesters and said that if a similar thing happens again in the future, he will follow up on it immediately.

But he did not respond to calls for him to step down.

Travel Industry Council chairman Michael Wu Siu-ying also admitted that they did not handle the incident well. The council will not tolerate any violence, he said.

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