HONG KONG'S highest court could be asked to overturn a judge's landmark ruling that all Chinese citizens born here are entitled to right of abode, the Government said yesterday. The move raises the possibility officials will again ask Beijing to step in if they do not get the outcome they want from the Court of Final Appeal, a step observers say would be foolish and would threaten the SAR's image. Mr Justice Frank Stock ruled on Friday that immigration laws keeping out people like two-year-old Chong Fung-yuen, who was born before his parents had settled here, were unconstitutional. He said there was 'no ambiguity and no doubt as to the legal meaning' of the Basic Law when it said Chinese citizens born in Hong Kong were automatically permanent residents. The legal community hailed Mr Justice Stock's ruling as a boost to confidence in judicial independence, as the judge refused to take into account a report of the defunct Beijing-established Preparatory Committee. But there were fresh fears yesterday when the Government said it would appeal. 'The Government is disappointed at Friday's court ruling and will take the matter to the Court of Final Appeal,' a spokeswoman said. Officials will first have to take their case to the Court of Appeal. Whichever side lost could then call on the Court of Final Appeal. Observers said the world would be watching to see what the Government did if its case failed again. University of Hong Kong law professor Raymond Wacks said the Government had every right to pursue its case until all avenues of appeal were exhausted. But it would be a 'huge step backwards' for it to ask Beijing to reinterpret the Basic Law if it lost the case. 'It's absolutely crucial that the public and the international community's confidence in the independence of the Judiciary is established,' Professor Wacks said. 'This is an excellent opportunity for the Government to accept the outcome, whatever way it goes.' Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming said it would be 'very foolish' for Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa to seek reinterpretation. 'It would present to the rest of the world and the people of Hong Kong that there was a failure in the [judicial] system,' he said. In June, the Government asked the National People's Congress Standing Committee in Beijing to reinterpret the Basic Law on another immigration issue after losing in the highest court. A Security Bureau spokeswoman last night said it was inappropriate to speculate what the Government might do after the next court case. 'Seeking an NPC interpretation of Basic Law is a serious matter,' she said. 'The Government has repeatedly said it will not seek the interpretation, save in highly exceptional circumstances,' she said. Official figures show there were 3,660 children born in Hong Kong in 1997 to women entering on two-way permits, which allow temporary stay. There were 2,331 in the first six months of this year. The Government fears an influx of pregnant mothers in the wake of the ruling. But solicitor William Clarke, whose firm represented Chong Fung-yuen in Friday's case, dismissed the fears, saying most of the fathers were permanent residents in the SAR.