Macau stops Post man at the border for third time

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 May, 2012, 12:00am


A South China Morning Post photographer was barred from entering Macau for the third time yesterday - as immigration officers told him his entry 'may jeopardise the public security or public order' of the former Portuguese colony.

Felix Wong Chi-keung set off to Macau yesterday morning to cover Labour Day protests for universal suffrage. But he was stopped at the border checkpoint at Macau's ferry pier at 11.30am and escorted to an office of the city's immigration department, before being returned to Hong Kong at 1pm.

Wong was required to sign a notice citing why he was denied entry. It said 'there are strong references that you [Wong] intend to enter the Macau SAR to participate in certain activities which may jeopardise the public security or public order of the Macau SAR' in accordance with internal laws. It gave no further details.

Wong also quoted an immigration officer as saying he had been denied entry because it was a 'special day' in Macau. But Wong said the officials did not ask him for his reasons for entering Macau.

South China Morning Post Editor-in-Chief Wang Xiangwei said the newspaper was 'deeply concerned that Macau officials have once again barred' Wong.

'We regard this incident as a form of harassment and an infringement of the freedom of the press guaranteed by the Basic Laws of Hong Kong and Macau,' said Wang in a statement. 'We urge the Macau government to clarify its actions.'

Four years ago, Wong was detained by Beijing police while covering a chaotic queue for Olympic Games tickets. He was held for several hours after kicking an officer while being dragged off. He was released after expressing regret for inadvertently hurting the officer. Police did not pursue the matter and he has since had no problem entering the mainland.

But Wong was twice barred from entering Macau in 2009 when he was assigned to cover stories about security legislation and, later, the trial of Ao Man-long, Macau's disgraced former secretary for transport and public works.

But Wong has since been allowed to enter Macau on at least four occasions - twice on work assignments and twice on private trips.

Zoe Hung, vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, condemned the Macau government and demanded a detailed explanation on the decision to deny him entry. 'The reason provided by the Macau authorities was ridiculous and fabricated,' Hung said.

The Hong Kong Press Photographers Association expressed regret over the incident and urged the Macau government to respect press freedom.

In a media briefing later in the day, Simon Wong Chio-man, a spokesman for the Macau public security police, could not say why Felix Wong was denied entry.

'We, the Macau government, welcome any tourist from all over the world. But if we find any person whose identity does not match with his identity as a tourist, we will handle it according to the law. This is our border control policy,' Simon Wong said.