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LCQ5: Combatting illegal immigration

    Following is a reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, to a question by the Hon Tam Yiu-chung on combatting illegal immigration in the Legislative Council today (January 9):


     Some front-line staff of the disciplined services have told me that the number of non-ethnic Chinese illegal entrants ("IEs") intercepted by them has been on the rise in recent years.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the number of non-ethnic Chinese IEs intercepted in each of the past three years;

(b) the usual means through which these IEs entered the territory illegally; and

(c) the plans to step up the interception of IEs in order to safeguard the interests of Hong Kong?


Madam President,

(a) Statistics on all non-ethnic Chinese illegal immigrants (IIs) are available only from 2006.  The Police and the Immigration Department arrested 871 non-ethnic Chinese IIs in 2006, and 1 876 for the first eleven months of 2007.

(b) Non-ethnic Chinese IIs comprise mainly South Asians and Vietnameses.  According to our understanding, they come to Hong Kong through the Mainland by two routes. South Asian IIs usually apply for China tourist visa in their country of origin.  After entry into Mainland China, they illegally enter Hong Kong through Shenzhen.  Vietnamese IIs usually enter Mainland China through the Sino-Vietnamese border.  They then travel south to Shenzhen by land and illegally enter Hong Kong.

(c) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government have spared no effort in combating illegal immigration.  Relevant departments have put in place a series of measures to intercept IIs, including :

* installing new fences and electronic detectors at the boundary between Hong Kong and Shenzhen to more effectively detect illegal immigration activities;

* stepping up enforcement measures and patrols at the boundary to intercept IIs, and inspecting incoming vehicles at the Lok Ma Chau, Man Kam To and Sha Tau Kok boundary control points regularly to prevent people from entering Hong Kong illegally by hiding in the vehicles;

* officers at boundary control points maintaining a high degree of vigilance to prevent IIs and criminals from entering Hong Kong by using forged identity documents or tourist visas;

* enhancing exchange of intelligence with law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the Mainland on illegal immigration and cross-boundary crime, so that local LEAs are kept informed of the up-to-date situation.  This will enable them to assess the situation and make appropriate deployments to intercept IIs.  We have also invited the Mainland LEAs to step up interception operations in the Mainland and in the vicinity of Hong Kong; and

* with a view to reducing the incentive for IIs to come to Hong Kong, we will continue to carry out cross-departmental operations at black spots for illegal workers to combat illegal employment.

Ends/Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Issued at HKT 18:35


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