Hong Kong International Airport has become the new front line in the battle to keep expectant mainland mothers from giving birth in the city.
Last month a mainland couple were so desperate to have their baby in Hong Kong that the man's wife pretended to be Filipino and tried to fool immigration officials at the airport by using a false Philippine passport.
Fong Waiyan and his wife, Fan Yueying, were arrested at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport last month when Hong Kong immigration sent them back to the Philippines after discovering that Fan was using a fake passport.
"The couple left Manila using their Chinese passports. But upon arriving at the Hong Kong airport, Fan pretended to be a Filipino by presenting a fraudulent Philippine passport to the immigration officer," a spokesman for the Philippine immigration authorities said.
"The woman was denied entry due to a dubious immigration departure stamp on her passport and Fong decided to go back with her to Manila."
Fan confessed to using the fake Philippine passport so she could give birth to her second child at a Hong Kong hospital instead of on the mainland. Both were blacklisted and will be deported.
"Fan said they found a website that offers speedy processing of third-country nationality and which they contacted and paid 200,000 yuan [HK$251,000] for making the Philippine passport," the spokesman said.
Since the "zero-birth quota" policy came into effect at the start of this year, the number of pregnant mainland women having emergency deliveries in Hong Kong has dropped significantly. There were just 22 in January and 34 in February. That compares to an average of 150 a month in late 2011, a record year when 43,982 mainland women gave birth in Hong Kong hospitals.
A total of 4,202 pregnant mainlanders without bookings for deliveries at local hospitals have been refused entry by the Immigration Department so far this year. That was more than double the 1,931 women who were stopped in 2011.