Philippines decries outburst vs Azkals in Hong Kong

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Philippine officials on Thursday called "unfortunate" the anti-Philippine outbursts from the Hong Kong crowd during a friendly match involving the Azkals and said the crowd's unruly behaviour did not reflect the feelings of the people in Hong Kong.

The Azkals beat Hong Kong, 1-0, on a first-half goal by James Younghusband in the match on Tuesday night at Hong Kong's Mongkok Stadium, where the Philippine team was the object of racial abuse.

Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, spokesman of the Department of Foreign Affairs, said the outburst against the Philippines from the Hong Kong fans did not reflect how the people of Hong Kong viewed Filipinos in general.

"We are concerned about some unfortunate events that happened during the friendly football match between the Philippine Azkals and the Hong Kong team," Hernandez said in a press briefing. "However, we believe that this is not reflective of the general sentiments of the Hong Kong community."

Hernandez added: "Sports is one of the best avenues in fostering mutual respect and understanding between communities and we hope that future similar activities will further strengthen the friendship between the people of the Philippines and Hong Kong."

Anthem booed

Hong Kong fans threw water bottles and other debris at the Azkal players and their supporters, including women and children, after the match. Some of the Hong Kong fans also called the Filipinos a "slave nation" and booed when the Philippine national anthem was played.

The Hong Kong Football Association has vowed to ban supporters of its team found guilty of racially abusing the Filipinos.

Relations between Manila and Hong Kong soured in 2010 after eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in a bus hostage-taking drama at Quirino Grandstand in Manila. The deaths were blamed on bungled police rescue operations.

Since then, the Philippines has been on Hong Kong's travel blacklist.

'Most disliked country'

A recent survey by a Hong Kong university has found the Philippines to be the most disliked country by residents in the former British colony.

According to the survey, 86 per cent of 1,000 respondents reported negative feelings toward the Philippine government and 30 per cent negative feelings toward Filipinos. The study did not explain the reasons for such sentiment.

The Japanese government rated 48 per cent on the "dislike" index while 28 per cent of those surveyed felt positive toward the Japanese people.

In contrast, Singapore, Canada and Australia were the most liked.

There are more than 170,000 Filipinos based in Hong Kong, according to 2011 figures of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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