Hong Kong Civic Party member let in to Macau

Friday, March 13, 2009
Issue 639, Page 4
Word count: 554
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Yesterday democrats and media from Hong Kong and Macau all had their eyes on Kenneth Chan Ka-lok, Secretary General of the Civic Party when he was travelling to Macau for an academic conference, as no one could predict whether or not he would be the next Hong Kong resident to be barred.

It turned out that Chan, who came to Macau as the assistant professor of the Department of Government and International Studies at the Hong Kong Baptist University, was allowed entry in the afternoon, despite having “a little bit longer clearance time over the counter”.

A number of Hong Kong reporters also followed Chan to Macau, as his political background was presumed to be an underlying reason for a possible entry ban from the Macau government.

Chan said his entry reflected the immigration rights that Hong Kong residents deserved, adding that he hoped it would represent a “new change [over Macau’s immigration policy]”.

“”I hope in the future all Hong Kong residents, no matter what their activities in Macau are, can be allowed entry. I believe the best situation for the two SARs is that the governments can maintain a close communication and coordination so that such kind of entry refusal will not happen again,” the member of the liberal democratic political party said.

Chan was to attend an international academic conference hosted by the Asia Europe Foundation in Macau yesterday.

On December 20 last year, however, he was turned away by the Macau immigration based on the internal security laws.

According to the Hong Kong media, Chan had sent an email to Hong Kong Secretary for Security, Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong prior to travelling to Macau.

He said that when the Macau immigration officer was checking his identity card, “some words showed up on the screen inside the counter and the officer had to carefully read and repeatedly inspect the document, which took about 10 seconds more than usual”.

However, Chan declined to comment on whether his entry was a result of the Hong Kong government having negotiated with its Macau counterpart.

He stressed that Hong Kong residents’ immigration rights should not come with any conditions.

Under the policy of One Country, Two Systems, Chan said both Hong Kong and Macau were looking forward to “moving positively and stably towards democracy”.

He added the recent acts of Macau, however, was going on an “opposite direction” and towards a “closed governing model which has worried residents of the two SARs”, the Hong Kong media reported.

On the other hand, the New Macau Association and lawmaker Au Kam San separately wrote to Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah and Acting Commissioner of the Public Security Police Lei Siu Peng yesterday.

The association, who will be receiving the group of Hong Kong pro-democracy legislators and advocates to exchange views regarding the national security law in Macau on Sunday, urged the Macau government in the letter “to be friendly to visitors who come for normal exchanges and not to turn away people unreasonably which will damage social harmony and Macau’s image”.

Meanwhile, Au in the letter demanded the Macau government to explain why a Taiwan resident, surnamed Chan, was refused entry on security grounds on January 14 this year, while she has “never had criminal record, participated in international terrorist organisations or any kinds of political activities”.

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