Mainland refused Margaret Ng a visa

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 February, 2004, 12:00am

Legislator Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee was asked by the Hong Kong government to join a delegation to Beijing for talks on Cepa but her application for a re-entry permit was rejected, it emerged yesterday.

The Hong Kong Economic Journal reported that Ms Ng, who is the Legislative Council's legal-sector representative and one of the leading members in the fight against the national security bill, had been invited by the Justice Department to join the government's delegation to Beijing scheduled to depart on Tuesday.

The report quoted Ms Ng as saying she had never asked the central government or the Department of Justice to allow her participation. She could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The department told her to follow the normal procedures by applying for a re-entry permit, the report said.

But Ms Ng was quoted as saying she felt 'surprised and disappointed' when last week she received notification her application had been rejected. No reason was given.

The report said Ms Ng then asked the department about the incident, but it said it could not help.

The delegation, to be led by Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, will include professional bodies such as the Bar Association.

It will hold talks with officials in Beijing to seek details on the recognition of qualifications among professions and to seek to lower the entry thresholds for those looking to launch or expand their businesses on the mainland under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.

Alan Leong Kah-kit, who is one of the two Bar Association representatives on the trip, yesterday confirmed the incident. As he understood it, Ms Ng was invited in her capacity as the legal-sector representative.

A Department of Justice spokesman yesterday would not comment on an individual case.

Ms Ng, a fierce critic of the Hong Kong government's handling of the right-of-abode issue, was stranded in 1999 when her visa was revoked by mainland authorities just before she was to board an aircraft for a seminar in Beijing on the mainland's constitution.