PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 January, 2003, 12:00am

I refer to Wendy Nesbitt's letter headlined 'Immigration nightmare another example of bigotry in Hong Kong' (South China Morning Post, January 1).

Immigration control officers are duty-bound to ensure that visitors on arrival are coming for bona fide purposes and meet the normal immigration requirements, such as possession of valid travel documents and sufficient means of support.

If the preliminary inquiries over the counter cannot enable a decision to be made, a further interview will be required. In order not to hold up other passengers and for reasons of privacy, the interview will be conducted away from the counters. Depending on individual circumstances and the workload, the processing time for each case varies.

We have carefully reviewed the circumstances of the case to which Ms Nesbitt referred. As far as the length of processing time is concerned, our record shows that the passengers concerned turned up at the immigration counter at the airport at 11.42pm on December 20 and after an interview, record check and other formalities, the case was finalised at 1.48am. For reasons of privacy, we cannot explain, through these columns, why it was necessary to take a considerable amount of time to make a decision. We would certainly be happy to explain the details of the case to the passengers if that is what they want. But I can assure your readers that it had nothing to do with their nationality or race.

They were treated properly during the whole process.



Airport Division

for Director of Immigration