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Hong Kong maintains black travel alert over PHL

December 29, 2012 8:20am
Hong Kong on Friday reiterated its black outbound travel alert (OTA) over the Philippines, the second time it did so in a month.
In its OTA updated Dec. 28, the Hong Kong Security Bureau cited the August 2010 hostage-taking and advisories by other countries of possible terrorist attacks.
The Security Bureau noted "Some overseas administrations had noted the risk on possible terrorist attacks, including places frequented by foreigners, such as large shopping malls and convention centres." 
The bureau advised its residents to register their travel itineraries and contact details to receive updates on OTA and related information before leaving Hong Kong.
"The Immigration Department may contact and assist the registrants in an emergency," it said.
Hong Kong last updated its travel advisory Dec. 11, a day after the United Kingdom (Manila time) advised its nationals anew against traveling to parts of Mindanao due to the threat of terrorism there.
Hong Kong's OTA system helps its residents understand the "risk or threat to personal safety" in 86 countries that are popular travel destinations for its residents.
As of Friday night, only the Philippines and Syria fall under the black OTA, which advises residents to "avoid all travel."
Under the red OTA, which calls for adjustments of travel plans and avoiding of non-essential travel, are Egypt, Israel and Lebanon.
In the amber OTA, which calls for monitoring one's situation and exercising caution, are Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Fukushima (Japan), Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Tunisia, and Turkey.
Hong Kong initially imposed a black OTA on the Philippines after the Aug. 23, 2010 hostage-taking incident in Manila.
In that incident, dismissed policeman Rolando Mendoza took a busload of Hong Kong tourists hostage to demand his reinstatement.

However, Mendoza was killed along with eight of the hostages during a botched rescue operation. - VVP, GMA News
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