HK police on alert amid 'Islamist' bid to lure Indonesian maids

March 23, 2015 11:20
Infiltration? (Clockwise from left) A group of women in traditional Muslim attire hold an Islamic State flag; a leaflet advertising an event in Hong Kong bears the same flag; a preacher holds a gun beside a similar flag. Photos: Apple Daily

Hong Kong police have started to closely monitor the activities of organizations representing Indonesian domestic helpers in the city following reports that Muslim preachers suspected of having sympathies with radical Islamist groups had planned speaking engagements in the territory.

Immigration authorities barred two Muslim preachers from entering Hong Kong on Friday after the Indonesian Consulate General informed the Hong Kong government that suspected supporters of Islamic State, an extremist jihadist group that is sowing terror in Iraq and Syria, had planned to host a speaking event by radical preachers in the city on Sunday, Apple Daily reported.

Leaflets promoting the event among Indonesian helpers bore a black-and-white flag similar to the one associated with Islamic State, the newspaper said.

Copies of a photo showing a group of women with traditional garments that covered them from head to toe and carrying the Islamic State flag were also being circulated.

Meanwhile, a picture posted on one of the preachers' Facebook account showed him carrying a gun with what looked like an Islamic State flag displayed behind him.

Leung Hing-ki, chairman of the Hong Kong TKI Association that sponsored the speaking engagement, said he did not know one of the preachers was a suspected Islamic State symphathizer.

Ika, one of the event's organizers, said she had no idea about the supposedly extremist leanings of the preachers, and had only been told that they were good people who have been preaching in Indonesia and overseas.

Leung also said the black-and-white symbol was found in the original design of the leaflet and should have been deleted.

He described it as a “big misunderstanding”, adding that nearly 300 people who had bought HK$60 tickets for the event would get a refund.

Several Indonesian maids said the recent barrage of news about the terrorist activities perpetrated by radical Islamist groups in the Middle East and elsewhere has been affecting their image in the city.

Some of them have stopped wearing Muslim scarves when they go out on the streets for fear that people may associate them with radical Islamist groups, while others said they feel they no longer enjoy the same level of trust from their employers since terrorist activities of jihadist groups abroad were reported regularly in news media.

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