Genetic tests for abode children sealed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 12:00am

The SAR and the mainland have struck a deal on how mainland children who want to claim right of abode should undergo genetic tests.

The Security Bureau said the Immigration Department and the Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration under the Public Security Ministry reached the agreement in earlier this month.

Under the agreement, mainland children whose parentage cannot be verified by documentary proof will be able to undergo genetic tests.

The mainland authorities will be responsible for testing the applicant, while the Immigration Department will take tissue specimens from the applicant's parent in Hong Kong and the test conducted by the Government Laboratory.

The results from the two sides will be cross-checked before reports are issued to the two immigration authorities. The authorities will then decide whether a Certificate of Entitlement and a one-way permit will be issued.

The fee for conducting a genetic test would be 1,100 yuan ($987) for the mainland part and $1,500 for Hong Kong.

Security measures would be taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, including: Those being tested need to provide photos and fingerprints when submitting applications; Officers responsible for taking tissue specimens will be required to sign to confirm the identity of the specimen providers has been verified; Random checks on the procedure; and Tamper-proof seals and bar-coding of specimens.

Right of abode claimants living outside Hong Kong and the mainland whose parentage is in doubt will be required to return to Hong Kong to take the tests.

'Enlisting the assistance of overseas laboratories to perform the tasks is considered undesirable because not every territory has internationally accredited laboratories and because it would be difficult to ensure there would be no abuse,' the bureau said in a paper to the Legco's security panel.