Hong Kong police are investigating a local travel agency that hosted a group of mainland tourists, one of whom died after being beaten outside a jewelry shop in Hung Hom on Monday.
The case was reported to the police on Thursday by the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, which suspected that the local company, Tian Ma International (Hong Kong) Travel Ltd., forged documents to link up with an unlicensed mainland travel agency in sending the tourists to the city, Ming Pao Daily reported on Friday.
In its application document, Tian Ma said the tour group was sent by its mainland partner Shenzhen International.
But the council checked with the Shenzhen tourism bureau and was told that Shenzhen International denied having sent any tour group to Tian Ma.
The council has sent a letter to Tian Ma asking for an explanation within 14 days, after it was unable to talk to the company’s owner, identified as Li Xianying.
Police are also investigating mainland media reports that Li used to operate another travel agency that offered zero-fee coupons and VIP cards to Chinese tourists.
The victim in Monday’s incident, 53-year-old Miao Chunqi, was part of the mainland tour group hosted by Tian Ma. He was beaten up after he tried to mediate in a quarrel between a female mainland tourist and a tour guide who berated her for not making any purchase at the jewelry shop.
Two tour guides suspected of involvement in the incident were denied bail by the court on Thursday and will face trial next month.
Miao’s wife, who arrived with other family members in Hong Kong on Wednesday, said her husband was healthy before leaving for the tour, denying speculation that he might have died from a lingering illness.
Appearing before the Legislative Council on Thursday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government is taking the case very seriously as Hong Kong’s reputation as a travel destination is at stake.
He urged the city’s tourism and retail industries to exercise self-discipline and avoid conniving with shops to force tourists to buy goods.
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