Thursday 22 February 2018

Mainland Chinese tourist beaten to death near Hong Kong shop

The death of a mainland Chinese tourist in Hong Kong has fuelled tensions between the two groups
The death of a mainland Chinese tourist in Hong Kong has fuelled tensions between the two groups

Chinese authorities have urged Hong Kong to fully investigate the fatal beating of a mainland tourist outside a shop.

The death spurred calls in China for a boycott of travel to Hong Kong.

The former British colony has been a long-time favourite destination for mainland Chinese travellers but it has also been the source of many complaints over so-called forced shopping, in which operators of deeply discounted group tours try to recoup their costs by pressuring tourists to buy merchandise at selected shops that pay them commissions.

The China National Tourism Administration urged Hong Kong authorities to protect the rights of mainland tourists.

Hong Kong police say they arrived at a shop on Monday morning and found a 54-year-old man lying unconscious outside, and that he died a day later.

Police said the man was attacked after trying to mediate a fight between two women over "shopping affairs". The women, who were arrested for fighting in a public place, are believed to be the tour leader and a fellow tourist. Local news reports said the dead man was attempting to mediate in the dispute, at a jewellery shop, when he was attacked by a group of men.

Police said two men were also arrested on suspicion of causing injury.

None of the people involved has been identified, but Chinese news reports of the mainlander's beating death in Hong Kong fuelled long-held resentment between the two groups.

Chinese visitors have been the major driving force for Hong Kong's tourist industry in recent years but the explosive growth has irked residents who blame them for driving up prices.

Tensions have also been exacerbated by allegations of coarse manners and bad behaviour by mainland tourists in orderly Hong Kong, such as blocking pavements with oversized suitcases and eating on the rapid transit system.

China introduced a tourism law in 2013 in an attempt to regulate the country's fast-growing tourism industry and protect tourists. One of its goals was to stop forced shopping though it has had little effect.

Press Association

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