Philippine consulate to ask HK help on runaway tourists

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Labatt Jolly Dela Torre

THE Philippine Consulate General (PCG) will ask for help from the Hong Kong government on the increasing number of Filipino tourists who leave their tour groups in China, Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre said.

Dela Torre said he would raise the matter at the next Technical Working Group meeting between PCG and HK officials.

“We’ll take up that up at the TWG to determine how to deal with it. It’s becoming frequent. It should be taken up with the Hong Kong government,” Dela Torre said.

So far, seven Filipino tourists had run away this year from their tour groups in mainland China, including the latest who was identified as Angeline C. Curato, said Steven Xu, a travel agency business director.

He said one tourist ran away on May 1; four on June 17 after sightseeing at Window of the World; and another one on June 24 after touring Yinxian Resort.

The tourist who ran away on Labour Day was arrested by the police 10 days later while those who ran away on June 17 and 24 eventually surrendered. He said that, as of Oct. 29, the police were still looking for Curato in the mainland.

“I’m sure she already had a contact (in mainland China). The problem is the other Filipino tourists are affected because they are held for hours by Immigration,” Dela Torre said.

“The tour organizer should be careful about the people they’re dealing with. Even if a runaway has supporting network there, what will her status be when she can’t get a working visa as a domestic worker there?” he said.

“She will be working as an illegal worker just like many Filipinas who are working there illegally as domestic helpers,” he added.

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