LegCo member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said “no offense was intended” when she’d quoted anecdotes of domestic helpers becoming “sexual resources” for their male expat bosses in an article she wrote for a Hong Kong newspaper.
The controversial editorial, published in the Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao and posted to Ip’s Facebook page and blog on Thursday (since deleted), accused international media of focusing only the the misbehavior of domestic helpers’ employers in Hong Kong following cases of maids being abused by their bosses. Ip went on to write that “the issue of a large number of Filipino maids being turned into sexual resources for male foreigners” should not be ignored, citing complaints from “foreign women” that the government was “allowing Filipino domestic helpers to seduce their husbands.”
The remarks sparked outrage from the Filipino community, and Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching accused the pro-Beijing lawmaker and former secretary for security of “blatant racism”.
The Philippines Consulate General last night released a statement likewise expressing concern over Ip’s “unfortunate choice of words” but that they were not “reflective of the general sentiments of the Hong Kong community at large”.
When SCMP reached out to Ip she said she wouldn’t apologize because “I have really received such complaints about the maids”.
“No offense was intended,” she later said in a statement. “I never [specified] who was ‘seducing’ whom in the article. The purpose of it was to show concern for those Filipino maids and pose a question as to whether they have been exploited.”
[Image via China Daily]