Fri, Jun 20, 2008 - Page 11 News List

HK hotel guests thrown out over unpaid loan: report

AFP , HONG KONG

Dozens of bewildered tourists were kicked out of a Hong Kong hotel after it was taken over by a city bank due to an unpaid loan, a report said yesterday.

The visitors from Taiwan, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Denmark, Italy, Argentina and China were ordered to leave the Tatami Hampton Hotel after Bank of East Asia (BEA, 東亞銀行) took possession of the property, according to the South China Morning Post.

“How could something like this happen in Hong Kong?” a woman from China who identified herself as Li was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Li learned of the problem when she arrived in Hong Kong on Wednesday evening with her three teenage daughters and was told she could not stay in the hotel, located in the city’s Mongkok area, the report said.

The move comes after a prolonged battle between BEA and Labour Buildings, the company that runs the hotel, over an unpaid HK$80 million (US$10.2 million) loan.

The company, a former investment arm of Taiwan’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), said it was granted the loan to curry favor with the ruling party 10 years ago, according to the newspaper.

A notice posted in the hotel lobby said it had been taken over by lawyers representing the bank and the bailiff pursuing a court order, the report said. TV images showed the hotel doors bolted shut.

A BEA spokeswoman said it had no immediate comment.

Hong Kong was hit by a string of tourism scandals last year, when visitors on cheap package deals were forced to visit certain stores and encouraged to buy goods before being allowed to leave.

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