20 January 2019
Sakumoto Tsuguo (left) has run foul of immigration authorities after conducting some Karate classes in Hong Kong. Photos:, Apple Daily
Sakumoto Tsuguo (left) has run foul of immigration authorities after conducting some Karate classes in Hong Kong. Photos:, Apple Daily

Japanese Karate master arrested in HK for visa violation

Japanese Karate guru Sakumoto Tsuguo was arrested by Hong Kong immigration authorities last Friday on charges of violation of visa conditions, Apple Daily reported.

Sakumoto was arrested at the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) in Sha Tin for working in the city illegally, the report said.

The Karate master had come here to conduct a five-day course at the sports institute.

He was said to have been hired by the Karatedo Federation of Hong Kong (KFHK) to offer a training course at the HKSI for a fee of around HK$50,000.

The organizer recently posted some information on Sakumoto’s classes on a social media platform.

Immigration authorities then conducted a raid and arrested Sakumoto and a Japanese assistant on charges of working without a proper visa.

The pair was released on bail after being detained for about ten hours.

Given his international reputation, it is likely that the Immigration Department would let the Karate master go back to Japan on lenient bail terms, the report said.

Sakumoto, who was the president of the Prefectural University of Okinawa and a member of the World Karatedo Federation’s technical committee, has won the 7th, 8th and 9th World Karate Championships.

The Immigration Department did not identify Sakumoto, merely saying that it arrested two people in Sha Tin last week for breaching the local immigration ordinance after receiving a report.

The KFHK has yet to respond to the incident, with its chairman Kenny Yu Kang-chau and vice chairman David Sung Ka-kui both refusing to respond to reporters’ queries.

Dr. Lobo Louie of the Department of Physical Education at the Hong Kong Baptist University said it is common practice for the organizer of any training course to apply for work visas for trainers from overseas.

It is sad that Sakumoto had to suffer embarrassment, he said, adding that he believes that the karate coach was not aware of the lack of proper paper work.

Meanwhile, Dr. Louie also said that it is debatable whether a professional coming to a five-day sports training session would require a work visa, as it is more like an exchange activity.

He called on authorities to spell out rules unambiguously so that people in the sector would have a clear idea on when they would need to apply for work visas for their guests from overseas.

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