Some illegal immigrant children are entering Hong Kong numerous times to commit crimes, despite facing detention in juvenile homes. Fifteen-year-old Ah Choi, from a remote town in Fujian, said he had illegally entered the territory about 50 times in the past five years. 'To me, Hong Kong is a place of hope and opportunity, and I can't think of a reason not to return again,' he said. His opinions are shared by other illegal immigrant minors at the Pui Yin Juvenile Home in Ma Tau Wei who are frequent visitors to Hong Kong. They hide under trucks or in train compartments or walk in over the hills. At the age of 10, Ah Choi climbed into a packed train heading to Guangzhou - where he began his life as a beggar and scavenger. 'There's nothing I could do in my home town and no one cared about me. My parents divorced when I was eight and they didn't want to or couldn't afford to pay the 20 yuan (HK$18.60) for my school fees.' He said he was ambushed by gangsters in Guangzhou whenever he had some money in his pocket. 'A handicapped adult friend told me Hong Kong was a good place for earning a living, so I followed him here out of curiosity and hope.' They begged outside a department store in Tsuen Wan, making $2,000 a day together, he said. At night they slept above an overpass. The boy said that when they were repatriated, they were placed in detention centres in Guangdong for anything from a few weeks to a few months. 'If you have money, you are released at once. If you don't, you have to stay for a while. They don't send us back to our home towns. 'So we hit the streets in Guangzhou or Shenzhen again and wait for the chance to return.' Last week, a 10-year-old illegal immigrant from Jiangxu province pleaded guilty to burgling a flat in Sha Tin. He is being kept at a juvenile home prior to his sentencing this month. The superintendent of Pui Yin, Tsui Yee-fat, said the trend of minors illegally entering the territory began three years ago, and they made up more than half the total of illegal immigrants. 'I think it's time for the concerned departments and China to sit together and think of ways to solve the problem. It's clear that putting illegal immigrant minors in remand homes is not the best way to deter their repeated offences.' The founder and director of Youth Outreach, Peter Newbery, said there was little the authorities could do to stop the problem. In the first six months of this year 470 illegal immigrant minors were arrested, of whom 90 had committed crimes in the territory, according to the authorities.