Activist Joshua Wong demands Hong Kong government response to blacklisting in Thailand
Security Bureau and Immigration Department says they ‘will not and should not interfere’ after Thailand denied the student leader’s entry at China’s request
Student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung demanded local officials respond to the “blacklisting” of Hong Kong residents by other governments after he was denied entry to Thailand and detained for 12 hours at Bangkok airport on Wednesday.
Recounting the ordeal on a local radio programme yesterday, Wong, 19, said a country had every right to deny entry to anyone it wished, but to do so on the grounds of a foreign blacklisting was “incomprehensible”.
Thai officials confirmed Wong was turned away at Beijing’s request. China’s foreign ministry said it “respected Thailand’s exercise of immigration control”.
“Whether I am a threat to public security is up to the [country] to decide, but when they told me it was because I was wanted by another country, I was really quite shocked,” Wong said. “I would think the Hong Kong Security Bureau and Immigration Department have a duty to follow up on the case.”
Hong Kong’s Security Bureau echoed the mainland government’s response, saying it respected the right of other jurisdictions in exercising immigration control.
“We will not, and should not, interfere,” the statement said.
Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said the incident was “purely Thailand’s own handling” of an individual’s entry into the country as a tourist.
Wong was invited by Thai student activist Netiwit Chotipatpaisal to address politics students at Chulalongkorn University on the 2014 Umbrella Movement. The talk coincided with the 40th anniversary of a deadly government crackdown in Bangkok.
Wong said the event would go ahead without him, but he would try to give his talk via live video conference on Thursday evening.
“They also told me to send them a [pre-recorded] clip by noon ... as they are worried the university’s internet connection may be cut off because of this meeting.”
The Demosisto student leader said he would not attempt entry into Thailand or Malaysia again. He urged those actively involved in the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement to remain cautious.
According to Wong’s account, he was stopped and surrounded by 20 police and immigration officers on the air bridge from the plane to the terminal at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. They asked him to confirm his name, confiscated his passport and detained him in a cell, he said.
“At the time, I believed the chances of me being able to pass through immigration were about 50 to 50, as I [had been] deported by Malaysia before. But never would I have expected to be stopped ... before even stepping into the airport,” he said.
Wong requested an explanation of which local law he had violated, to contact a Thai-based lawyer, the Hong Kong Immigration Department and his family.
“All three requests, Thai police and customs rejected,” he said.
Wong said he was not provided with a translator and spent the night in a 50 sq ft cell, away from other detainees. He was given water and food.