Macau launches probe into China tourist scuffle


HONG KONG (eTN) — The Macau government has launched an investigation into a three-way clash between a disgruntled tour group, their guide and police in the southern Chinese city, officials said Thursday.

The scuffles broke out between around 120 tourists from northern Hebei province and their guide after the visitors had been dumped on a beach without food because they had not spent enough money, media reports said.

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The tourists surrounded a small group of policemen who were called to the scene, before another 20 officers dressed in riot gear arrived and broke up the clashes, the South China Morning Post said.

The Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) said it was investigating.

“MGTO will thoroughly investigate (Tuesday’s) incident … to determine whether any local travel agency or tour guide has infringed upon related legislation,” a statement said.

MGTO said it would also examine the tour itinerary and any pre-determined contracts, and added it was determined to clamp down on so-called “zero-priced tours”.

These tours appear cheap but guides recoup their losses by taking tourists around shops and restaurants, which pay the guides a commission.

Many visitors to Hong Kong and Macau have complained about tour guides’ hard-sell tactics.

One woman on the Macau trip was quoted in the Post as saying she was called a beggar after failing to meet a shopping target of 3,000 Hong Kong dollars (385 US).

Five of the tourists arrested and released on bail after Tuesday’s scuffles had returned to China along with the rest of the tour group, the report added.

Earlier this year, Chinese TV reported that several Chinese visitors had been sold fake jewellery at excessive prices in a number of Hong Kong stores.