Ethnic minorities in Hong Kong

Pro-Beijing DAB urges Hong Kong government to tackle criminal, bogus asylum seekers

Political party’s survey used to bolster calls for tighter restrictions, time limits for protection claimants

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 8:18pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 10:22pm

A pro-Beijing political party survey, released Tuesday, was used to bolster calls for the Hong Kong government to crackdown on bogus asylum seeker claimants.

According to the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong’s opinion survey, 91 per cent of the 606 respondents said asylum seekers convicted of crimes should be sent back to their countries. More than half did not support reopening refugee camps in Hong Kong.

Some 73 per cent said the government should set a time limit for protection claims to be raised and 58 per cent said Hong Kong should withdraw from the UN Convention Against Torture entirely.

Hong Kong’s asylum seekers demand better support to help and protect refugee children

DAB lawmaker Holden Chow Ho-ding said the number of “fake” asylum seekers, or protection claimants, had “not only caused an economic burden, but also caused a lot of crimes”, and genuine applicants were the minority.

“We have a lot of... ethnic minorities living in Hong Kong, and because of these black sheep... these ethnic groups are wrongfully labelled as criminals.

“We need to urge the government to tackle this problem.”

Government data showed 12.3 per cent of all protection claimants were arrested last year for working illegally or criminal offences, such as shop theft – they represented 3.9 per cent of the total number of detainees. Just 21 per cent of protection claims were filed after more than 12 months of staying in the city.

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The DAB lawmakers urged the government to expedite the screening of protection claims and clear the backlog of over 10,000 claims.

Human rights lawyer Patricia Ho said the political party’s survey questions “came from a place of ignorance about relevant laws in Hong Kong and court decisions”.

She said while the government should act faster to screen protection claims, “this type of language and rhetoric should be condemned”.

A motion to combat bogus refugees, submitted by lawmaker Chow, is set to be discussed Wednesday by the Legislative Council.