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Consulate rescues 5 stranded Filipino students at Chinese U

13 November 2019

By Daisy CL Mandap
Chinese U has ended classes as it faces another night of siege by the police
(photo from Jason Ng)

Five Filipino students at the Chinese University in Hong Kong were picked up by officers of the Consulate earlier today, Nov. 13, as the campus remained under siege by the police trying to flush out anti-government protesters for the second straight day.

Three of the students, all post-graduate students, were taken to Hong Kong International Airport from where they took their flights to Manila this evening. Two who are undergraduates asked to be taken to a relative’s house in Pokfulam.
Consul Paul Saret, who led the team that picked up the students from the CUHK campus aboard two vans, said two other Filipino undergraduate students chose to remain in their dormitories on campus on the advice of relatives.

“Sinabihan daw sila na mas safe sila na nasa campus. May kamag-anak din kasi sila sa Hong Kong na puwedeng sumundo sa kanila kung kinakailangan,” said Saret.

Consul Saret
He said Consul General Raly Tejada was the one who gave the order to pick up the students from the Shatin-based campus after hearing about their appeal.

CUHK said in a press statement this evening that all classes on campus for the current semester have ended. The next term will open on Jan. 6 next year.
The statement said that the decision was made “in view of the escalation of social movements across the territory, the continuous disruption to public transport services, as well as the severe damage done to facilities on campus.”

The university’s student union president, Jacky So, meanwhile, has asked the High Court to issue an injunction to ban police from entering the campus.

CUHK has been at the center of an upsurge of violence that broke out after a student who fell from a carpark in HK University of Science and Technology during a police dispersal operation, died from his injuries on Monday.
On Tuesday, violent clashes broke out between the police and protesters as they wrestled for control of a bridge in CUHK, from which police claimed students had thrown debris onto the Tolo Harbour Highway below to block traffic.

Mainland students were the first to leave, complaining of harassment from protesters who allegedly pounded on their doors and spray-painted insults on walls. A marine police boat was used to transport them to Shenzhen.

At about the same time, the Filipino students also asked to be fetched from the university, fearing for their safety.

The post-graduate students were reportedly the most affected as their dorms are located near the disputed bridge where police had fired several rounds of tear gas Tuesday night. Protesters retaliated by throwing petrol bombs.

Consul Saret that his team had to skirt around some blocked roads on the way to Shatin to pick up the students. “Mabuti na lang yung dalawang driver natin ay kabisado ang mga daan kaya nakarating kami.”

He assured that as in all Philippines posts abroad, the Consulate has a contingency plan in case of an emergency that puts the safety of Filipino nationals at risk. “We are ready to activate that should it become necessary,” he said.
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