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Avoid demos, HK Pinoys asked

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday asked Filipinos in Hong Kong to exercise “extreme caution and vigilance” amid the mass protests in this city-state over a controversial extradition law.

The DFA said the Philippine consulate general in Hong Kong had released an advisory asking Filipinos there to stay away from demonstration areas, which are generally concentrated outside the government central offices, particularly the Legislative Council Complex, in Admiralty and in Tamar Park.

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Filipinos were also advised to consider rescheduling their consular transactions unless their need was absolutely immediate since the consulate is very near the demonstration areas. Instead, the Filipino community was asked to keep themselves updated with the security situation in Hong Kong through media reports.

The massive protests are focused on a controversial bill that would allow the extradition of Hong Kong offenders to China. Although debate on the bill was put on hold for another day, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has refused to withdraw the bill, which she said was needed to close “loopholes” allowing criminals wanted on the mainland to hide out in Hong Kong. The huge but peaceful demonstration started on Sunday. Police broke it up on Thursday.

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Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello also advised overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong to refrain from joining mass actions and demonstrations to avoid getting deported.

“But if they want to join, that is up to them,” Bello told reporters on Thursday.

Nonetheless, the labor official directed the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Hong Kong to issue an advisory to OFWs.

“We have our labor attaché there. They know what advice to give our OFWs [to keep them] from harm,” Bello said.

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TAGS: DFA, extradition law, Hong Kong
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