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HK concern over Macau entry ban

By Vaudine England
BBC News, Hong Kong

Elderly women in Macau protesting security legislation Dec 08
Many HK people have been barred from entering Macau since December

Hong Kong legislators are to discuss how to respond to neighbouring Macau's immigration policy, after Macau refused entry to several Hong Kong residents.

A Hong Kong professor, several pro-democracy politicians and a photographer have been barred from entering Macau in recent days.

Macau - a special administrative region of China - denies that it operates an immigration blacklist.

New security legislation came into force in the territory this week.

Both former European colonies have guaranteed autonomy under Chinese sovereignty, but Hong Kong has long established habits of free speech and movement.

Entry bans

Johannes Chan, dean of the University of Hong Kong's law faculty, told Cable TV in Hong Kong that he was turned away by immigration officers when he went to give a speech at the University of Macau on Friday.

The only explanation given by the Macau officials was that his name was on a list and that they were just doing their job, said Mr Chan, who is also a former chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association.

Map

He said he believed he was refused entry because of his involvement in a campaign against the Hong Kong government's plan to enact controversial security legislation.

The Article 23 security law came into effect in Macau this week, but strong public opposition has blocked it in Hong Kong.

Two other Hong Kong residents were recently barred from Macau, pro-democracy politicians Frederick Fung and Bruce Liu.

Nine other pro-democracy politicians who had planned to protest against the security bill in Macau were denied entry in December.

Felix Wong Chi-keung tried twice to enter Macau in recent weeks but was barred from entry without explanation.

The photographer had been involved in an incident with police in Beijing in the run-up to last year's Olympic Games.

Tit for tat?

Albert Ho, chairman of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, has scheduled a debate in Hong Kong's legislature to press the Hong Kong government to press Macau on the issue.

He told reporters he would ask that Hong Kong ban the entry of Macau figures in return.

However, Stanley Ho, Macau's gaming tycoon, whose business is dependent on China's goodwill, said he supported the entry bans.

"I think the [Macau] government was right. Those people [who were turned away] were all troublemakers. They had caused troubles in Macau in the past," he told local media.

Hong Kong's secretary for security has said the government is investigating the incidents but it would not intervene in law enforcement in other jurisdictions.

"According to Macau authorities, the actions were in line with their internal security laws," Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said.



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