Chinese tourists mutiny Macau
A group of mainland Chinese tourists fed up with being forced to shop till they dropped mutinied on a beach in Macau, triggering a three-way fight with guides and police riot squads.
Macau's casinos are keen to entice tourists
In the latest of a series of incidents arising from tour guides' practice of taking commission from shops for sales to their groups, the day trip ended in running fights along Hac Sa beach, an idyllic spot on the South China Sea.
Before the 124 tourists were led away by officials from the Central Government Liaison Office in Macau, they had confronted their guides, injured policemen and even triggered a separate brawl between mainland and local tour leaders.
The group was part of an 800-strong party in all from Tangshan, a city dominated by heavy industry and new money in northern China's Hebei province.
They were on a day trip from Hong Kong on Tuesday, but after visiting one or two local sites and a number of shops, were told they had not spent enough by their local guides.
They were told they had to visit either a casino, or an expensive floor show, to earn the operators their commission.
At some point during subsequent negotiations, the 124 were deposited on the beach and their buses driven away.
The first fight was between the mainland guides, who were trying to confront their local colleagues, and a handful of police.
Then 40 officers armed with shields and batons arrived, as the tourists intervened, they said, to protect the mainland guides from police.
Police say they had surrounded one of the officers and were refusing to let him go.
Television footage showed police swinging at the tourists, some of whom were elderly, with batons.
“The situation was out of control, so police used appropriate force to stop them,” Pun Siu-tong, a police spokesman said.
The incident follows a crackdown by the authorities in Hong Kong in response to complaints from mainland tourists that they are overcharged by shops in cahoots with local tour guides.