Hong Kong politician barred from Macau ahead of 18th handover anniversary over security concerns
Centrist party Third Side vice-chairman Casper Wong says he was planning to attend fintech forum at casino hub
The vice-chairman of Hong Kong centrist political party Third Side was refused entry to Macau on the eve of the anniversary of the former Portuguese enclave’s handover to Chinese rule.
Casper Wong Chun-long, who was travelling with five business partners on Tuesday morning to attend a fintech forum at the casino hub, was stopped on arrival by immigration officers.
His business partners were let through, but Wong was taken to a room for questioning and was eventually turned away on grounds, according to a document presented to him, that “there are strong references that you intend to enter [Macau] to participate in certain activities which may jeopardise the public security or public order of [Macau}”.
Wong, who last visited the city in September, said he was puzzled by the Macau authorities’ decision, as Third Side was a moderate political party that supported Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor during the Hong Kong chief executive election in March.
Speaking to the press at the ferry terminal on his return to Hong Kong, Wong said: “I and Third Side walk the middle of the road. If we are regarded as someone or a group that could cause a threat to the government, we doubt if the central government or the Macau government is sincere when it says it wants to keep contact with groups with different political views.”
Third Side was co-founded by former Democratic Party legislator Tik Chi-yuen.
Wong, a former student activist, said he suspected the Macau government had tightened up immigration control as the city was to celebrate its 18th handover anniversary on Wednesday.
Tik said Macau’s denial of Wong’s entry for a business conference made a mockery of Beijing’s push for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area development promoting closer cooperation between the three locations in terms of people flow, logistics, transport and capital flow.
He added that the party had raised the issue with the Hong Kong Security Bureau and demanded an explanation from the Macau authorities.
A spokesman for the Macau government could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
The Security Bureau said in a statement that it would not comment on individual cases and added: “We must respect the right of other jurisdictions in exercising immigration control … We will not, and should not, interfere.”
In recent months, numerous Hong Kong opposition lawmakers have been barred from entering Macau, ostensibly over the same security concerns. They include the Democratic Party’s Helena Wong Pik-wan and Andrew Wan Siu-kin, the Civic Party’s Dr Kwok Ka-ki, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen of People’s Power, and Kenneth Leung, who is non-affiliated.