Up to 100 cross-border students lack permits
More than 100 mainland students - some as young as eight - are being forced to use public transport when travelling across the border each day to attend Hong Kong schools.
The children do not have closed-area permits, which give access to Lo Wu Station Road and public transport at the Lok Ma Chau border crossing and would have enabled them to use school buses.
Many of the students secured places at local schools only in July - after the June deadline for permits.
At least 23 out of the 300 cross-border students attending Fung Kai No 1 Primary School, in Sheung Shui, including children as young as eight, are without a permit.
Students with permits can use school buses and reach school within six minutes of crossing the border. But those without permits face a journey of about 25 minutes; they cross the border and then catch a train before walking to school - either escorted by a parent or travelling alone.
Liu Chi-leung, the primary school's principal, says: 'It takes about two hours and costs HK$80 each day for a parent to take their child to and from school. Few can afford the time and money.'
It is also a risk for such young children to travel alone, he says.
Hong Kong police have already issued a record 2,600 permits to cross-border students this year. 'The Lo Wu Control Point has reached its maximum capacity,' Education Bureau spokesperson Benjamin Yung Po-shu says.
Liu says: 'We hope the bureau reconsiders its permit policy for the good of children's safety.'