MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Hong Kong has a "black" advisory in force, despite other countries lowering the severity of similar warnings issued last month over the fear of terror attacks in the Philippines, foreign ministry spokesman Eduardo Malaya said.
"We find it surprising that this updating of Hong Kong's black travel advisory comes at a time when a number of Manila-based foreign embassies have lowered their travel alerts," Malaya said in a statement.
Hong Kong issued a black travel advisory for the Philippines in August after eight of its tourists were killed by a disgraced Filipino policeman who took them hostage on a bus in Manila.
The Hong Kong security bureau's advisory discourages all travel to the Philippines, which is entering its traditional peak December to February tourism season, when many Hong Kong tourists usually visit.
And the updated advisory said: "Some overseas administrations had noted the risk on possible terrorist attacks, including places frequented by foreigners, such as large shopping malls and convention centers."
It is similar to advisories issued by several Western countries in November that warned of possible terror threats in Manila.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III strongly criticized the November advisories, saying they were not based on firm intelligence.
The Hong Kong security bureau said in a statement that the new details were intended to give more information to travellers.
The Philippine foreign ministry said its Hong Kong consulate had been told that the new details were merely a "technical upgrade and not an upgrade of content".
The Philippines has sought to placate Hong Kong after the hostage drama, carrying out an investigation of the bus hijacking and creating special tourist police to guard areas visited by foreign travellers.
-- Inquirer/Asia News Network