Fears raised over laboratory for abode tests

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2000, 12:00am

The Guangdong laboratory set to conduct genetic tests on abode-seekers to verify parentage has no international accreditation, lawmakers were told yesterday.

A senior chemist at the Government Laboratory, Dr Betty Law Man-yee, raised concerns about the Guangdong Investigation Bureau laboratory yesterday during a meeting on the Immigration (Amendment) Bill.

Under the proposed bill, abode-seekers will be asked to undergo DNA tests if they lack documentary proof.

The Guangdong laboratory will test tissue specimens of applicants and their parents on the mainland, while the Government Laboratory will be responsible for tests in Hong Kong. The results would be matched for verification.

Cyd Ho Sau-lan of The Frontier asked why a laboratory without accreditation was allowed to conduct the tests.

'Why don't we use laboratories that get the accreditation?' she said. 'We shouldn't sacrifice technological proficiency for the sake of administrative arrangement.' Dr Law said the Guangdong laboratory had met the required standard on DNA testing. She saw no problem in allowing the mainland laboratory to conduct the tests.

'We have many quality assurance measures to ensure the proficiency,' she said.

Dr Law said the Guangdong laboratory's testing system was the same as Hong Kong's.

Deputy Secretary for Security Timothy Tong Hin-ming said the proposed method of testing by the two government laboratories would be adequate.

'The Government doesn't say that this is the best and the only way to undergo the tests, but it is one of the reliable ways to conduct the tests and prove the parentage relationship,' Mr Tong said.