Hong Kong Tourists Forced To Shop 'Til They Drop

For decades, Hong Kong has attracted shoppers with its tax-free designer knock-offs, antiques of recent vintage, and just about any kind of electronic gear imaginable. Most shoppers are there because they actually want to buy something. But some are forced onto long shopping marches, and one tourist died of a heart attack recently after arguing with a tour guide after refusing to shop.

Local authorities were forced to step in after the video below started making the rounds. The Hong Kong Standard translated a few commands:

[Tour guide ] Ah Zhen is heard scolding the tourists in fluent mandarin after they board their bus. “Don’t tell me you don’t need to shop,” she says. “So later are you going to say you don’t need to eat?

“I will lock you out of your hotel rooms as you don’t have enough to stay there.

“It’s okay for you to stay poor at home, but when you travel outside don’t be like this. In this world there is no such thing as a free lunch?”

She goes on to talk about how the visitors found money for their airfares and then chides them: “We don’t do this for charity. Let me be responsible for charity. I donated 10,500 yuan [HK$12,027] for Sichuan earthquke victims.”

She then points to shops offering top- quality goods, before adding: “Why did you bother to come to Hong Kong?”

In another incident, a group of tourists was abandoned by their guide after they declined to pay a $257 penalty for not shopping in Hong Kong. In all of the recent cases, the tourists have been from mainland China.

Hong Kong’s tourism authority has published a Code of Conduct for tour guides, which warns them not to “attempt to compel visitors to make purchases, or mislead or attempt to mislead them into doing so.”

There’ll be hell to pay [The Standard]
Code of Conduct for Tourist Guides [Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong]