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|Saturday, July 21, 2001, updated at 14:59(GMT+8)|
HK Government Respects Court's Right of Abode RulingThe Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is disappointed with the ruling by the Court of Final Appeal Friday on the right of abode case involving Chong Fung Yuen, but it respects the Court's judgment, according to Acting Secretary for Security Timothy Tong.
Chong Fung Yuen was born in Hong Kong when his mainland parents came here on two-way permits. The SAR government was of the view that he was not eligible for right of abode in Hong Kong, but the Court ruled against the government.
Tong said that the Immigration Department would take appropriate measures to implement the court's decision.
Commenting on the possibility of an influx of mainland women coming to Hong Kong to give birth as a result of the ruling, Tong said that even when the Court hearing was in progress, government departments including the Police and the Immigration Department had been in close contact with the relevant mainland authorities to work out measures to prevent such from happening.
According to statistics, the number of mainland women coming to Hong Kong to give birth in the first half of this year was on the downward trend, Tong noted.
Immigration Department statistics show that there are a total of 2,202 known cases of children born in Hong Kong to mainland mothers who were non-permanent Hong Kong residents since July 1, 1997. Among these mothers, 232 are illegal immigrants and 1,821 are overstayers.
"Therefore the main task of the government is to tackle the problem of mainland women coming to Hong Kong to give birth illegally," Tong said.
"The government will continue its vigilant boundary control and liaise with mainland authorities to closely monitor the situation and take any further actions that may be required."
Tong stressed that entering Hong Kong through illegal means to give birth posed danger not only to the pregnant women but also to the babies.
"The risk is not worthwhile," he said.
He added that the government would continue to take enforcement action against overstayers and illegal immigrants, adding that they would all be sent back to the mainland.
"Even if a child born in Hong Kong is eligible for right of abode, the mother will have to be sent back to the mainland. The family split is not conducive to the well-being or development of the child," he said.
Regarding the court's ruling on the right of abode of mainland children adopted by Hong Kong residents, Tong said that the government was pleased that the court had ruled in favor of the SAR government.
"In this case, the court's judgment has affirmed that adoption does not confer the right of abode under the article 24(2)(3) of the Basic Law.
"This is an important case because this will stop people ineligible for right of abode from circumventing Basic Law article 24(2)(3) by way of adoption and hence make themselves eligible for right of abode. Basic Law article 24(2)(3) stipulates that at the time of birth, either parent must be a Hong Kong permanent resident.
Referring to suggestions that the government take into account humanitarian consideration in handling cases of adopted children, Tong said, "I believe the relevant authorities will handle the cases in an appropriate manner in accordance with the law and relevant procedures."
He also welcomed the court's ruling against Fateh Muhammad's appeal because the court had upheld provisions in Basic Law article 24(2)(4) that a person not of Chinese nationality should have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than seven years immediately before the date of his application for right of abode.
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