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HK Police take no chances as Duterte flies in tonight from China

10 April 2018

Duterte during his visit to HK in May 2017

By The SUN

Police in Hong Kong are on high alert as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives tonight for his second visit to Hong Kong since assuming office.

Duterte will arrive at around 10:30 tonight after attending the Boao Forum for Asia, an annual economic summit held in Boao, Hainan Province, where he reportedly met on the sidelines with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

His agenda for the Hong Kong visit is not known, except for a meeting with members of the Filipino community at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on Thursday, 3pm-9pm.

Duterte will reportedly be accompanied to the meeting by his Chief of Staff Christopher “Bong” Go and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who have both been tipped to run in next year’s senatorial election in the Philippines.

Duterte is scheduled to fly to his home city of Davao after the meeting.

Despite the tight security, several Filipino community organizations led by the Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (HKCAHRPP) are planning to stage a protest against Duterte.

A statement released by the group earlier today said: “A tyrant and a fascist deserves no warm welcome” in the city.

They called on the Hong Kong government to be transparent in its dealings with Duterte, saying local people do not want to be seen supporting a president who abets extrajudicial killings, violence against women, and high-handed response to criticism and opposition.

However, Vice Consul Bob Quintin of the Philippine Consulate said more than 2,000 people had signed up for the dialogue with the president, despite Thursday being a working day for most Filipino domestic workers in the city. A number of those who registered for the meet-up were given a letter from Consul General Antonio Morales asking their employers to allow them to take the afternoon off for the meeting.

Media representatives who were called to a briefing by the police yesterday said the security alert level will be the same as that put in place for Duterte’s first visit to Hong Kong as president in May last year.

The police asked no further details of the security arrangements be disclosed. However, a report in the South China Morning Post reported on the elaborate measures being taken to secure his visit, including deploying heavily armed counterterrorism agents to patrol the streets, and using an anti-explosive vehicle capable of jamming radio signals.

Duterte who is reportedly considered a “high-risk target” because of his sanction for extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, will also be accompanied by a big police contingent wherever he goes in the city.

During the official briefing, members of the press were told that as a visiting head of state, Duterte is a security risk and police are not taking any chances. Even newsmen will not be allowed just anywhere near the hotel in Tsimshatshui where the President will stay, and will be confined only in a designated press area outside the building.

Arrangements for media attending the meeting at the cruise terminal have been left to the Consulate, the police said.

Shuttle schedule for those
attending the meeting in Kai Tak
Meanwhile, members of the community have begun receiving text confirmation of their attendance to the six-hour meeting with Duterte starting last night (Monday).

The Consulate is deploying shuttle buses to carry those with approved passes from Exit A of the Yau Tong MTR station to the meeting venue. The first shuttle bus will leave Yau Tong at 12noon, and the last bus at 4pm. From the cruise terminal, the first shuttle bus will leave at around 8:30pm and the last at 10pm.

No activity was announced for the President on Wednesday, but word going around in the community said he would be meeting with Filipino businessmen and his local friends.

Many of those who will attend the community meeting are hoping to bring up the controversial recall recently of the Philippine Labor Attache, Jalilo dela Torre. Secretary Bello sent Dela Torre an emailed memo on Mar. 26, stating his recall was to “take immediate effect.”

Despite clearing his desk as told and transferring all office funds and properties to the designated officer-in-charge, dela Torre said he has yet to be told when he is expected back in the home office in Manila.

Various community organizations have held angry protests for the past two Sundays against the recall, saying dela Torre is the only official of the Consulate who has gone of his way to help and protect them from abusive employers and employment agencies.

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