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LCQ17: One-way Permit

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, to a question by the Hon Claudia Mo in the Legislative Council today (January 22):


     It has been reported that some mainland residents have been granted One-way Permits (OWPs) for settlement in Hong Kong even though they have criminal records in Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of mainland residents with criminal records in Hong Kong or on the Mainland coming to Hong Kong for settlement each year since July 1, 1997, with a breakdown by the offence committed (e.g. bribery, offences related to bogus marriage and the use of forged travel documents);

(2) of the respective numbers of mainland residents with criminal records in Hong Kong (including those who had not and had served their sentences) against whom the authorities had taken the following actions upon their entry into Hong Kong on OWPs, each year since July 1, 1997: (i) refusing entry, (ii) granting conditional or unconditional stay in Hong Kong for settlement, (iii) transferring them to prison for serving their sentences and deporting them from Hong Kong after serving their sentences, and (iv) transferring them to prison for serving their sentences and permitting them to settle in Hong Kong after serving their sentences;

(3) whether the existing mechanism allows the authorities to exercise discretion to deal with such cases by ways other than those mentioned in (2); if so, of the details;

(4) given that the Government has stated that a notification mechanism is in place between the Mainland and Hong Kong to regularly provide the mainland public security authorities with the particulars of those mainland visitors who have breached the law in Hong Kong for follow-up actions, and such persons will not be issued travel documents (including OWPs) to come to Hong Kong within two to five years (period of non-issuance of permits), of the criteria based on which the Government and the mainland authorities set the period of non-issuance of permits for various types of offences; whether it has conducted any review with the mainland authorities on such notification mechanism; if it has, of the details; and

(5) whether it will discuss with the mainland authorities the establishment of a regular system to facilitate the authorities to check, upon the entry of mainland residents to Hong Kong on OWPs, if they have criminal records in Hong Kong, and to refuse entry of those with such records who are still subject to restriction of the period of non-issuance of permits; if it will, of the details?



     Pursuant to Article 22 of the Basic Law, for entry into the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), people from other parts of China must apply for approval.  The provisions of this Article, in accordance with the Interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in 1999, mean that Mainland residents who wish to enter Hong Kong for whatever reason, must apply to the relevant authorities of their residential districts for approval in accordance with the relevant national laws and administrative regulations, and must hold valid documents issued by the relevant authorities.

     My consolidated reply to the Member's questions is as follows.

     Mainland residents coming to Hong Kong for settlement must hold a valid One-way Permit (OWP) and go through immigration clearance. Immigration control officers have been exercising caution in handling immigration clearance of OWP holders. The Immigration Department (ImmD) does not maintain figures of OWP holders with criminal records in Hong Kong or the Mainland.

     The HKSAR Government and the Mainland authorities have an established mechanism to prevent Mainland visitors from entering Hong Kong for activities that are in violation of regulations or illegal. The ImmD regularly passes information on Mainland residents who have committed an offence in Hong Kong to the Exit and Entry Administration Offices of the Public Security Bureau of the Mainland, so that the relevant authorities will be more stringent in assessing their future applications for entry to Hong Kong. The offences involved include illegal employment, breach of conditions of stay, possession or use of forged documents, submission of false statements, engaging in prostitution or other criminal offences punishable by at least two years' imprisonment. Generally, the Mainland authorities will not issue exit endorsements or travel documents to such persons for a period of two to five years, depending on the circumstances. The ImmD will review the mechanism at appropriate times and maintain liaison with the Mainland authorities to ensure its effectiveness.

Ends/Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:06


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