News that a mainland celebrity couple delivered their second child in Hong Kong at the weekend has raised speculation that a loophole exists in a ban on mainlanders giving birth in the city.
Mainland internet users were left scratching their heads after actress Betty Sun Li on Saturday night announced on Weibo - the mainland's equivalent of Twitter - that she had delivered a daughter in Hong Kong.
"Deng Deng's sister has arrived," Sun wrote on her microblog, referring to her young son.
The agent of actor Deng Chao, Sun's husband, confirmed the news but refused to reveal the hospital where she had given birth or whether either of the parents had obtained Hong Kong permanent residency.
The posting prompted the mainland online community to speculate how the couple could have given birth in Hong Kong legally, given its "zero birth quota" policy, in place since last year.
The rule stops pregnant mainlanders from taking up resources at local hospitals, and skirts the issue of granting residency rights to babies born in Hong Kong to mainland parents.
Internet users concluded that, if the couple were not Hongkongers, their only hope was for Sun to rush to the emergency ward of a public hospital, though many felt it was unlikely for a celebrity couple to resort to this.
Some wondered if the couple had become permanent residents through the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, which targets highly qualified people who lack a prior job offer.
The Hospital Authority said last night that it had no figures on whether any mainland mothers-to-be were rushed to emergency rooms on Saturday.
A lawmaker who pushes the policy of priority for Hongkongers said it would not be an issue if either parent was a Hongkonger.
The Immigration Department declined to comment on individual cases when asked if either or both of the couple had become Hongkongers.
The zero-quota policy allows pregnant mainlanders whose husbands are permanent residents of Hong Kong to enter the city upon showing immigration they have a booking at one of the city's private hospitals.
Lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai urged the government to step up efforts to prevent pregnant women crossing the border. Every month since the ban began in January last year about 20 mainlanders have been taken to emergency rooms to give birth.