Miao Chunqi, a 54-year-old tourist from the Chinese mainland, died on Tuesday after a shopping brawl in Hong Kong.(CHINA DAILY)
The National Tourism Administration urged Hong Kong authorities to look into the death of a mainland tourist after a shopping brawl, and to safeguard the rights of all mainland visitors in the region.
The death also shed light on a deceptive tactic used by some mainland group-tour organizers to push tourists harder at retail shops and take profits away from the city's partners.
The victim, 54-year-old Miao Chunqi, was reportedly a construction contractor from Harbin, Heilongjiang province. He was pronounced dead at 10:45 am at Hong Kong's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Tuesday.
Miao, according to the police, was trying to break up a brawl between two female tourists inside a jewelry shop in Kowloon when four men stepped in and beat him. He was left unconscious and the attackers fled.
The Hong Kong police arrested two alleged attackers on Monday, identified as a local tour guide and a mainland tourist. A search for the remaining two continued into Tuesday evening. The case was listed as manslaughter. The motive for the attack is under investigation.
The two female tourists who started the row were also arrested for fighting in a public place. One of the women was identified as "group leader"－a tour member who offers voluntary assistance to the guide.
The National Tourism Administration expressed deep concerns about the incident in a statement released on Tuesday. The agency said it hopes Hong Kong authorities will conduct a thorough investigation.
Hong Kong's Tourism Commission extended its deepest condolences to the victim's family. It attached great importance to the incident and has urged a self-regulatory industry association, the Travel Industry Council, to review whether the local organizer had broken rules on group tours.
The commission is also working with Shenzhen authorities to gather information on the tour group. The group consisted of 19 people who took a three-day trip to Hong Kong. The group continued on a sightseeing trip to Macao on Tuesday.
The local agent that received the tour was identified as Tian Ma International (Hong Kong) Travel. The jewelry shop in Hung Hom district was typical of those that only open their doors to mainland groups. But unlike previous shopping rows, there was no sign of direct involvement by the staff of the shop or tour organizer.
The industry in Hong Kong has since suspected the involvement of agents disguised as tourists. Yiu Si-wing, a legislator elected by the travel industry, said it has become more common for mainland tour organizers to hire people to pressure fellow tourists, even by force.
"The so-called 'shadow tourists' made commitments with the agency or organizer prior to coming to Hong Kong, to pressure and cause clashes," Yiu said. Such tactics fall into a regulatory vacuum and eats into the profits of local organizers, as commissions are paid directly to their mainland counterparts.