A Hong Kong legislator and former security chief is refusing to apologize for controversial comments about Filipino domestic helpers that have sparked calls for an investigation.
Regina Ip, chairman of the New People’s Party, admitted using inappropriate language in her comments but said she is not sorry for them, adding these were taken out of context, Apple Daily reported.
“Why should I apologize for showing concern?” Ip said.
The controversy arose from her column in Ming Pao Daily on Friday in which she said Filipino domestic helpers are being “turned into sexual resources for male foreigners in Hong Kong”.
The comments were later posted on Ip’s Facebook page with the headline “Lots of Filipino maids provide sex services to foreign men?”.
The post has since been taken down.
Civic Party legislator Claudia Mo accused Ip of discrimination and called for an investigation in a letter to the Equal Opportunities Commission.
Leo Tang, secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions, said Ip’s comments showed she would do anything to get elected as Hong Kong’s next chief executive.
And Eman Villanueva, a spokesman for the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, urged the Philippine government to blacklist Ip as an “undesirable person”.
Ip, who also serves on the Executive Council, said that as security chief, she received complaints from expat wives that Filipino maids were seducing their husbands.
In some cases, the maids caused the breakdown of their employers’ marriage, she said. Ip was Hong Kong security minister from 1998 to 2003.
On Saturday Ip said her staff misused “lots of” in the headline when it should have said “many” and used an inappropriate graphic when posting her article, according to Apple Daily.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Ip said she “deeply regretted” the headline and was sorry that the public misunderstood it.
She said she will deal with the concerned staff.
Ip said her article had been intended to reflect a social reality and was not meant to discriminate against anyone.
Nor did it suggest that Filipino domestic helpers are sex workers, she said.
The comments came after a former Filipino domestic helper hit the headlines when her teenage daughter with her foreign live-in partner fell to her death earlier this month.
[Regina Ip's article] (in Chinese)
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