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LCQ5: Immigration control

     Following is a reply by the Acting Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, to a question by the Hon Cheung Kwok-che in the Legislative Council today (October 20):


     It was reported that a social worker in Hong Kong who travelled to Macao for leisure on the 1st of this month was refused entry by the Macao immigration authorities for the reason that she posed a threat to the stability of its internal security, violating the Internal Security Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).  The social worker was a member of the executive committee of the Student Christian Movement of Hong Kong after her graduation, and is now a social worker of the Concerning CSSA Review Alliance, and her work mainly concerns livelihood of the people.  Moreover, she participated in the July 1 march twice, the May 1 march once, as well as the sharing session on the "Five Geographical Constituencies Referendum" in Hong Kong.  Regarding the issue of Hong Kong residents being refused entry by the Macao authorities, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it has ascertained from the Macao authorities if they have set a policy of refusing the entry of Hong Kong residents who work for the aforesaid groups or organisations or have participated in the aforesaid activities as such persons pose a threat to the stability of internal security of Macao; if it has not so ascertained from the Macao authorities, of the reasons for that;

(b) whether the Government and the Macao authorities have formulated a notification mechanism for cases of Hong Kong residents being refused entry by the Macao authorities; whether there are existing procedure or guidelines for providing assistance to Hong Kong residents who have been refused entry by the Macao authorities and following up such cases; and

(c) whether it has compiled statistics on the total number, since the reunification of Macao, of Hong Kong residents being refused entry by the Macao authorities; if it has, of the details; whether it will communicate with the Government of Macao SAR regarding such incidents, so as to avoid similar incidents from happening again?



     The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG) attaches importance to the legal rights of Hong Kong residents travelling outside Hong Kong, and will provide assistance as necessary.  On the other hand, we respect the right of other administrations to exercise immigration control in accordance with their laws.  Based on that principle and taking into account actual circumstances, we will liaise and discuss with the relevant authorities of other places and countries with a view to enhancing travel convenience for Hong Kong residents.

     Our response to the three parts of Member's question is as follows:

(a) According to international practice, immigration authorities will examine each entry application in accordance with local laws and prevailing circumstances.  As far as we understand from the Macao authorities, each application for entry to the Macao SAR will be considered in accordance with their laws and the circumstances of individual cases.  The HKSARG respects the jurisdiction of other administrations and their right to make any lawful decision accordingly.

(b) and (c) Hong Kong residents who have been refused entry outside Hong Kong are not obliged to, and most of them would not, make a report to the HKSARG, and we respect their decisions.  The HKSARG will not request information of such refusals from any other immigration authorities unless the persons concerned choose to raise such a request with the government departments.  In short, there is no notification mechanism for this purpose between Hong Kong and Macao, and the Hong Kong Immigration Department does not keep statistics on cases in which Hong Kong residents have been refused entry to Macao.

     Having said that, against the frequent passenger trips made by Hong Kong residents to Macao, with an average of more than 600,000 per month, we believe that the refused entry cases are isolated incidents.

Ends/Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Issued at HKT 16:02


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