Controversial President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Hong Kong last night at 11:34pm after attending an economic forum in China.
The strongman leader, condemned internationally for a so-called war on drugs that has seen thousands killed in extrajudicial killings and famous for launching foul-mouthed rants against everyone from Barack Obama to the Pope, plans to meet with members of the city’s Filipino community at an event tomorrow.
Protesters, meanwhile, are mobilizing.
Duterte is “a tyrant and a fascist deserves no warm welcome” in the city, said Ma Wan-Ki an organizer with the HK Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (HKCAHRPP), a local organization that will join with Filipino groups in planned demonstrations.
Ma, an executive committee member of the League for Social Democrats, said Duterte’s “mindless” drug war, arrest of activists and militarization of parts of the country were an affront to human rights.
“President Duterte is a tyrant who has no regard for due process and check and balance, and has no respect for human rights,” he said.
“He is a fascist who muzzles even the media and the courts, and who resorts to brutality to get what he wants for his personal gains as well as the oligarchs and landlords who support him,” he added.
Security has been ramped up the visit — Duterte’s second in 10 months.
Elite police units yesterday meticulously inspected the area around the Tsim Sha Tsui hotel where he is staying, counterterrorism units will patrol the area and an anti-explosives vehicle capable of jamming radio signals will be deployed, the SCMP reported.
Despite widespread condemnation internationally for his human rights record, Duterte remains popular among many in his homeland, surveys show.
Greeted last night by staff from the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong, the president plans to hold a meet and greet tomorrow night for some 2,000 invited Filipinos at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.
According to ABS-CBN, Duterte said he will report “the developments at home and listen to their concerns and also their hopes.” He is being accompanied by his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who also visited Hong Kong in February.
Chairperson of democracy activist group BAYAN Hong Kong & Macau Eman Villanueva said last night that his organization was applying for a police permit to hold a demonstration, though the exact venue was still being finalized.
“It may not be very near the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal because of the very high security level in place,” he said, via message.