China

Hong Kong 'forced shopping' attack sees tourist killed

A female tour guide is led away by police - cleared for online use only Image copyright Apple Daily
Image caption A female tour guide is among those arrested

A Chinese tourist has died in Hong Kong a day after being beaten up during a so-called "forced shopping" tour.

Operators of such discounted tours try to recoup costs by pressuring tourists to buy goods at selected stores.

Police said the victim, 54, intervened when a fellow tourist got into a fight with a tour guide after refusing to buy anything at a jewellery shop.

At least four people have been arrested and the Hong Kong Tourist Board (HKTB) expressed regret over the incident.

"The HKTB has zero tolerance for any act that impacts the hospitable image of Hong Kong, particularly acts of violence," it said in a statement.

The victim, a male building contractor from north-east China, was found lying unconscious outside the shop in Kowloon on Monday morning.

He tried to mediate in a fight between two women - believed to be the tour leader and one of the tourists - before he and the female tourist were attacked by a group of men who dragged them onto the street and beat them, police said

The two women, aged 32 and 53, have been arrested, along with two men, one a 44-year-old Hong Kong resident and the other a 32-year-old mainlander. Police say they are still searching for two other suspects.

Growing resentment

On the mainland the man's death prompted calls for a boycott of travel to Hong Kong.

China has introduced measures aimed at stopping the practice of forced shopping, but they have had little effect.

Tensions between Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese have been rising as the number of mainland visitors has increased.

The visitors have driven a tourism boom - but local residents blame mainlanders for pushing up prices.

They also resent what they see as mainlanders' coarse behaviour, such as eating on the subway and blocking pavements with oversized suitcases.

China's National Tourism Administration has urged Hong Kong authorities to protect mainland tourists' rights.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mainland tourists have long complained about "forced shopping" tours

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