A local tour guide involved in a “forced shopping” fight with a mainland tourist who later died has been found guilty of two counts of common assault and sentenced to five months in prison.

The incident took place last October at a jewellery shop in Hung Hom. According to the charges, 44-year-old Woo Yin-nam attacked Miao Chunqi from Harbin, Heilongjiang, as well as his companion, Zhang Lixia. Miao fell into a coma and died the following day.

mainland tourists street fight
The victim on the right and the tour guide on the left. Photo: news.ifeng.com.

Woo and his mainland counterpart, Liu Yang, were originally charged with manslaughter, but the charges were amended to assault after an autopsy found that the victim died of a heart attack. Liu earlier admitted to the crime and was sentenced to three months behind bars.

woo yin-nam
Defendant Woo Yin-nam.

The judge said that a fine or a suspended sentence did not reflect the seriousness of the crime. Moreover, the defendant did not plead guilty and was not remorseful, hence was deemed unsuitable for a community service sentence, Apple Daily reported.

The judge also said that the defendant had been a tour guide for around 20 years and had a duty to uphold Hong Kong’s reputation in tourism. Instead, he beat up the two in a public place, damaging Hong Kong’s international image.

In recent years, budget tour groups to Hong Kong and Macau have become increasingly popular among mainland travellers. However, some of the tour packages require tourists to purchase goods from designated shops.

Agencies often charge very low fees for hotel accommodation and transportation, instead reaping profits from shopping commission. Conflicts between tourists and their tour guides over “forced shopping” have been frequently reported.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.