Single Hong Kong mother of epileptic son seeks residency after seven refusals

Argentine passport holder who gave birth in city while visiting family and now relies on regular re-entries hopes chief executive can secure her stay

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 June, 2017, 9:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 June, 2017, 10:58pm

A single mother who has been refused Hong Kong residency seven times since 2001 has reiterated her hope that she can stay in the city on humanitarian grounds to care for her 17-year-old epileptic son.

Since April last year, the Chinese mother and holder of an Argentine passport has petitioned top official Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, to secure a stay in the city for the sake of her son, a Hong Kong permanent resident who suffers from multiple disorders including dyslexia, mental retardation as well as visual and hearing impairment.

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But her case has dragged on with no favourable reply from the Security Bureau. A bureau spokesman declined to comment on the case on Thursday.

“I wish everyone could put themselves in my shoes and think how government care could help a child with multiple problems,” said the 59-year-old mother, identified only by her surname Yang.

I wish everyone could put themselves in my shoes
Yang, single mother of epileptic son

Yang said she had managed to stay in Hong Kong over the past 17 years as a visitor to take care of her son.

He is now studying at a local boarding school for disabled children and needs to attend medical appointments during weekdays.

As an Argentine national, Yang is required to exit the city every 90 days to maintain her visitor status. She said she usually travelled to mainland China and returned immediately to Hong Kong.

But she worried she could be kicked out of the city at any time.

Born on the mainland, Yang went to Argentina in 1992 for school and obtained an Argentine passport in 1996. She gave birth to her son in 1999 while visiting family members in Hong Kong.

“I hope the director of immigration could give me a convincing and fair judgment,” she said tearfully.

Relying on her son’s HK$6,700 monthly social security subsidy and staying in his public housing flat, Yang hoped she could work if granted residency and support her son and herself.

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Annie Lin, a community organiser at the non-profit Society for Community Organisation, which has helped Yang, said a judicial review could not be ruled out if the bureau rejected her application again.

A total of 186 people were granted stay in Hong Kong at the immigration director’s discretion between 2005 and 2015.

Human rights lawyer Mark Daly said family unity should qualify as a humanitarian reason enabling one to stay. “The hard line taken by the Immigration Department is legally and morally wrong,” he added.