Father of baby born at border is jailed
A baby was born while his mainland parents were being interrogated at the Lok Ma Chau border checkpoint, a court was told yesterday.
But while the child will get the Hong Kong identity card his parents craved, his father will spend a year in prison after admitting attempting to evade border controls aimed at stemming the influx of pregnant mainlanders into the city.
The baby's parents arrived at the checkpoint on March 27, but officers became suspicious when they claimed they were coming to Hong Kong to catch a flight to Indonesia, and attempted to use their Chinese passports, rather than an exit-entry permit, to get into the city.
'Holding their Chinese passports was obviously an unusual practice for entering the city,' Choi Yue-ning, an assistant principal immigration officer said after the hearing.
Immigration officers said the woman was obviously pregnant, and asked her to provide a certificate to show she had booked a bed in the city for delivery.
This was a requirement introduced in September last year amid concerns that a growing number of mainland women, unable to book beds due to the imposition of quotas for non-local residents at hospitals, were arriving in the city late in their pregnancy and giving birth in emergency rooms.
But the woman suffered uterine contractions while being questioned and gave birth to the little boy at the scene. The mother and child were then taken to hospital.
The father, Li Zhenhui, admitted one charge of making a false representation to immigration officers and another of possessing a false instrument - the two flight tickets, which proved to the fake - at Sha Tin Court yesterday.
The tickets were bought from a birth agent in Futian, Shenzhen, for 40 yuan (HK$49).
The Immigration Department has said 2,400 expectant mothers were turned back at the border in the first seven months of this year.
The number of pregnant mainland women turned away at border control checkpoints last year out of the 44,600 identified