Filipinos warned against joining HK protests

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday warned Filipinos in Hong Kong not to join pro-democratic protests there as the government battles the worst unrest since China took control of the former British colony two decades ago.

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Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said those participating in protests in Hong Kong may be fined HK$5,000 and/or imprisoned for 12 months.

They may also be deported after serving their sentences and paying the fees.

The Occupy Central, a civil disobedience campaign calling for universal suffrage in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HK SAR), began on September 28 around the government offices in Admiralty.

“The Filipino community and visiting Filipino nationals in HK SAR are advised to avoid venues of these protest actions,” Jose said in a news briefing.

He particularly advised Filipinos against going to Central, Admiralty, Tim Me Avenue, Lung Wei Road, Causeway Bay, Mongkok, Wan Chai and the government headquarters in Tamar “to ensure your safety and avoid being inadvertently perceived as being part of the protest actions.”

“Filipinos are further advised to spend their holidays on October 1 [to]2 away from the Admiralty and nearby areas,” Jose said.

He added that the Philippine government is ready to assist Filipinos who will be found participating in the protest activities.

Jose, however, said there is no need to raise a travel warning despite the protests. It is also business as usual at the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong, which has been monitoring the protests on the streets.

“Our consulate is equipped and capable of taking care of the welfare and safety of our Filipinos there,” he added.

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