Immigration officers attacked me for no reason, woman says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 July, 2006, 12:00am

A Hong Kong SAR passport holder says she was beaten last week by immigration officers at London's Heathrow Airport, and her family may take legal action.

Retired teacher Yu Yin-hing, 59, said immigration officers denied her entry last Friday, attacked her and detained her before she was sent back to Hong Kong the same day.

Ms Yu said the incident occurred as she tried to enter the country to transfer to a flight to the Isle of Man to visit her daughter's family, who are British citizens.

She said she had frequently travelled to Britain as a visitor but this time immigration officers denied her entry without explanation.

Ms Yu said she had arrived at 4.30am and the officers made her wait at the counter, not allowing her to go to a restroom. 'I was told at 6.35am that I was not allowed to enter the country and had to wait for further examinations and questions,' she said. 'They took my ticket and passport.'

Ms Yu said she tried to ask for a translator so she could get an official explanation but the officers did not offer her help. She said she was taken to a detention room at the airport at 9am, where she still could not call anybody or eat.

'At first, I was with a man in his mid-20s in a yellow uniform,' she said. 'I wanted to eat some cookies my daughter made for me but the guy brutally stopped me.'

Ms Yu said a man in his 40s then rushed into the room and hit her in the eye and bruised her right arm.

She said more officers entered and police insulted her by kissing her passport picture. She says she was sent to a detention centre near the airport around noon.

'A Chinese translator called me while I was there and informed me that I could not enter the UK and could be charged by the government because I attacked officers working in the airport,' she said. 'I never beat anyone.'

Her daughter was told by immigration officers from the Isle of Man that her mother had to return to Hong Kong because she behaved aggressively in public.

The British Immigration Service said Ms Yu was denied entry by immigration authorities at Heathrow acting on behalf of those from the Isle of Man, but her daughter said this explanation was totally different from one given by local immigration officers.

Her daughter said the family would report the case to the Hong Kong government. 'We will file a lawsuit if we need to make sure [they] are brought to justice.'

The British consulate in Hong Kong said yesterday it would investigate the incident.