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Donald Tsang

Abode seekers demand action

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 January, 2009, 12:00am

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More than 100 abode seekers and their parents yesterday marched to the government headquarters in Central and held a candle-light vigil to mark the 10th anniversary of a court ruling that allowed thousands of them to stay in the city.

That judgment by the Court of Final Appeal on January 29, 1999, was overruled by the National People's Congress five months later.

Lin Tao-cheng, chairman of the Hong Kong Parents' Association for Children's Right of Abode, wants the Legislative Council to press the government to work towards granting residency to abode seekers, and to set out a time frame for doing that.

'There are about 50 unused slots in the daily quota for applying [for] one-way permits to Hong Kong,' he said. 'We hope that the mainland and Hong Kong governments can grant their use, so that the adult mainland children of Hong Kong permanent residents can apply for the permits and settle in Hong Kong.'

Father Franco Mella, a leading right-of-abode campaigner, called on the government to start talks with Beijing to allow abode seekers to settle in the city.

The protesters yesterday marched from Wan Chai Immigration Tower to the Central Government Offices, and submitted their letter of appeal to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong. Some chanted 'Give me back my right of abode' outside the Court of Final Appeal.

Some abode seekers living illegally in Hong Kong also joined the march and vigil.

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and pan-democrat lawmakers Lee Cheuk-yan, Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, Cyd Ho Sau-lan, Albert Chan Wai-yip and 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung attended the vigil.