ABOUT 75,000 mainlanders entitled under the Basic Law to right of abode in Hongkong after 1997 will probably be allowed to trickle into the territory before then. Security Branch officials were working on ways of avoiding a sudden influx at the change-over, the Legislative Council Security Panel was told yesterday. Article 24 of the Basic Law states that children born outside Hongkong but with a parent who is a permanent resident of Hongkong can be given the right of abode in the Special Administrative Region. A principal assistant secretary for security, Mr Simon Vickers, said the Government estimated that 75,000 people were involved and most were children. To avoid a sudden increase in the territory's child population, Mr Vickers said the Government was considering absorbing those qualified for entry under Article 24 in a gradual movement before 1997. A concrete proposal would be ready within three months. He said the phased absorption could be achieved by expanding the daily quota of one-way permit holders crossing from the mainland. But he did not say whether the Government intended to create a special quota for the children. Hongkong receives 75 one-way permit holders daily. Legislative Councillor Mr Tam Yiu-chung welcomed the announcement, saying that it was a problem the Government had to deal with at some point to fulfil the Basic Law provision. But he warned that the move would give rise to problems when thousands of children were forced to leave their mothers in the mainland, as their mothers had not been guaranteed the same right of residency in Hongkong. He said the Government should look into ways of minimising the impact on families. He suggested the Government lift the daily quota to 120 to give extra places to the mainland mothers. Mr Tam also said the adjustment to the quota must be implemented with a more open application system at the Chinese end to ensure no foul play in the application procedure.