• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 8:10pm
NewsHong Kong

Immigration Department looking into claims of 'improper belly taps'

Checkpoint officers allegedly told suspected pregnant women to press their stomachs

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 March, 2013, 11:04am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 March, 2013, 2:09pm

The Immigration Department is looking into claims that some mainland women were treated inappropriately at a Hong Kong checkpoint and were asked to prove they were not pregnant. 

The story has apparently gone "viral" on a mainland microblogging site.

Immigration officers at Lok Ma Chau spur line checkpoint ordered several women to tap and press their stomachs, including one who said she was in her 50s, mainland resident Su Jia wrote on the Sina weibo, saying he witnessed the incidents.

Su, a public relations director, told the South China Morning Post that on Wednesday, he saw an immigration officer issue such instructions to a woman.

The woman complied, but looked both amused and annoyed, and said: “Come on, I am more than 50 years old.

A younger woman who was accompanying her was asked to do the same, Su said. She asked: “Am I too fat?”

Both women had entry permits, he said.

The Immigration Department told the Post it was looking into the claims.

The Hong Kong government has been facing pressure from locals to tighten checks on expectant mainlanders who try to enter the city to give birth so that their children will gain right of abode.

Separately, another mainlander told the Post that Hong Kong immigration officers told her to press her stomach as she entered the city in August 2011.

“My friend, who was queueing behind me, was angry and couldn’t believe what she saw.” The woman said she was from Kunshan city in China's eastern Jiangsu province .

Su suggested officers interview the women in rooms rather than in public.

“The procedures were an invasion of the mainland women’s privacy. I’d always thought Hong Kong was a society based on the rule of law that respected individual human rights. But the immigration officers’ conduct really disappointed me,” he said.

As of Friday, Su’s posting had been reposted more than 12,000 times since it went up on Wednesday. More than 5,000 comments followed.

Some web users felt their countrymen had been insulted. “This is absolute discrimination against mainlanders,” one wrote.

But just as many were sympathetic. “It is your choice to go, so put up with it,” one said, urging people to comply with officers.

Ngai Sik-shui, chairman of the Immigration Service Officers Association, said officers would ask suspected pregnant woman to go into a room for inquiries.

In case of doubt, they would ask doctors from the Health Department to check the women, but only Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau had such doctors, he said.




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This article is now closed to comments

Being a woman in my 50's I dont find a problem if my belly has to be investigated but, take the woman to a side room thats all for a bit of privacey. I am not carrying drugs, smuggling anything strapped to my stomach or pregnant so no objection.
“It is your choice to go, so put up with it,” ....Well Said!
When you are traveling in USA by air, you're required to go through a scanner at the airport, and fingerprinted when you entered the US. If you don't like it, don't go! Simple as that.
back in the 60s, 70s or even 80s, citizens of hong kong traveling to western countries were subject to harassment and were treated like drug mules or illegal immigrants. let's not do the same to our brethren/sisters from china. one fundamental tenet of "human rights" is human dignity. we OWE to our visitors courtesy, respect and warm welcome... for god's sake, they spend RMB$ to prop up hong kong's economy. what's wrong with you???!!! what the...... ?!
immigration is one of the big big mafia in SAR.
EVERY flier in US (visitor AND citizen) must submit to TSA scanner and pad down... not only visitors.
the attitude of "it's your choice..." is a WRONG attitude as these are tourists, bringing their hard earned RMB$ to help our econ.
i really don't understand this arrogant attitude..... have you lost your mind???!!!


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