Philippine immigration detains Chinese student in soy pudding tantrum

Chinese art student Zhang Jiale was detained following her release from police custody on Tuesday evening.
Chinese art student Zhang Jiale was detained following her release from police custody on Tuesday evening. PHOTO: BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, PHILIPPINES

MANILA (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Officers from the immigration bureau have detained a Chinese art student who threw a cup of soy pudding at a police officer.

Zhang Jiale was detained following her release from police custody on Tuesday evening (Feb 12).

The bureau's spokesman Dana Krizia Sandoval said Zhang was the subject of a Mission Order signed by Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente 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.

The bureau is also expected to resolve Zhang's case in the next few weeks.

 
 
 

In the incident last Saturday, police officer William Cristobal stopped Zhang from going into a Metro Rail Transit (MRT) station in Manila, as she was holding a cup of soy 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 altercation, went viral on social media.

Across Facebook and Twitter, Zhang was derided for her arrogance and for being disrespectful. Some said her behaviour reflected the purportedly low regard many Chinese had for the Philippines, on account of President Rodrigo Duterte's policy to warm relations with China in exchange for investments for his ambitious US$169 billion (S$230 billion) infrastructure-building programme.

On Monday, following the furore, 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," she told GMA News from jail.

"I'm really, really sorry. I really ask if it's possible to have another chance for me… I really like the Philippines... I really love Filipinos," said the 23-year-old freshman at the SoFA Design Institute.

Zhang 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. "If found deportable, we will wait for the resolution of her court case before implementing the deportation," she added.