Philippine border officers detain Chinese student

Chinese art student Zhang Jiale was slammed on social media for throwing a cup of soya pudding at a police officer in Manila.
Chinese art student Zhang Jiale was slammed on social media for throwing a cup of soya pudding at a police officer in Manila.PHOTO: BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, PHILIPPINES

MANILA • Philippine immigration bureau officers have detained a Chinese art student who threw a cup of soya pudding at a police officer in a case that sparked outrage in the country. Zhang Jiale was detained after her release from police custody on Tuesday evening.

The bureau's spokesman, Ms Dana Krizia Sandoval, said Zhang was detained for violating immigration laws.

"Zhang has already been charged as an undesirable alien for posing a risk to public interest," said Ms Sandoval. "The incident showed her disrespect towards persons of authority, which in turn shows her disrespect to the country."

She added that Zhang may face deportation and eventually be blacklisted from the Philippines.

In the incident last Saturday, police officer William Cristobal stopped Zhang from going into a Metro Rail Transit station in Manila as she was holding a cup of soya pudding. He told Zhang that she would have to finish it before she could enter the station.

The government has banned certain liquid and gel items on the MRT because of reports that militants are planning to bomb public transport systems in Manila.

Zhang argued with the officer and, in an outburst, hurled her cup of pudding at his chest.


A photo of the visibly upset Zhang and the policeman with his soiled shirt, as well as a video of the fracas, went viral on social media.

Across Facebook and Twitter, Zhang was derided for her arrogance and disrespect.

On Monday, Zhang expressed remorse over her behaviour.

"I (was) really in a bad mood and I was not able to control my emotion... I feel so regretful," the 23-year-old freshman at the SoFA Design Institute told GMA News from jail.

She has been charged with "direct assault, disobedience... and unjust vexation", and could be jailed for between four months and four years if found guilty.

But Ms Sandoval clarified that her court case and her immigration case are two separate matters.

"Her court case will run independent from her immigration case," said Ms Sandoval.

Meanwhile, another Chinese national has landed in the news, this time for allegedly sexually harassing three teenage girls at a theme park in Pasay City.

Zhang Yang, a 19-year-old employee of an online casino operating in the country, was charged with acts of lasciviousness after the victims - who are 18-year-old students - accused him of fondling them inside a "horror house" attraction at the Star City amusement park last Thursday.

Zhang Yang was taken into custody after the students sought help from security guards.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2019, with the headline 'Philippine border officers detain Chinese student'. Print Edition | Subscribe