Pregnant mainland women should be barred from Hong Kong, an Executive Councillor said yesterday. Tam Yiu-chung's call followed Thursday's court ruling that children born here to mainland parents are entitled to right of abode. Mr Tam urged the mainland and SAR governments to tighten controls to avoid mainland women giving birth while visiting the territory. He denied the arrangement would be discriminatory. 'I think it is reasonable to ask them only to come to Hong Kong after they have given birth,' he said. 'Besides, travelling might not be good for their health.' Mr Tam hoped the court case would not encourage mainland woman to stay in the SAR to give birth after their two-way permits expired. Thursday's Court of Appeal ruling awarded right of abode to two-year-old Chong Fung-yuen, who was born in Hong Kong while his parents were visiting from the mainland. Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie yesterday said the Government was studying the judgment to decide whether to appeal. She said the Security Bureau would improve border checks to stop pregnant women sneaking into the SAR. Veteran adviser to Beijing Dr Raymond Wu Wai-yung refused to comment specifically on the case, but said judges should consider the social impact of a ruling. 'Courts should not be as rigid as an ironing board. Who will bear the responsibility if a pregnant woman dies while risking her life to sneak into Hong Kong?' Guangdong's Exit and Entry Administration Office said it needed time to study the ruling and could work with SAR officials to tackle a possible influx of pregnant women. An SAR Security Bureau said it would liaise with mainland authorities on further action if necessary. But Guangdong officials said the number of pregnant women caught trying to sneak into Hong Kong had been dropping over the past three years, with border surveillance stepped up. The Immigration Department recorded a drop in the number of babies born to illegal immigrant mothers - from 1,589 in 1998 to 1,436 last year. The figure was 656 in the first half of this year. But a rise was seen in the number of babies born to mothers travelling to Hong Kong on a two-way permit - 4,426 in 1998 to 5,645 last year, with 3,090 in the first half of this year. Guangdong Exit and Entry Administration Office deputy director Wen Rongfang said two-way permit applications from pregnant women whose husbands were Hong Kong residents would be handled more flexibly as they would eventually settle in the SAR. But Mr Wen said the office would usually be more prudent in other cases. 'It's inconvenient for them to travel. They should rest at home as the trip could be bumpy and they could get nervous during the journey and feel unwell. I think we would take these factors into consideration.'