Regina Ip admits immigration blacklist exists

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 May, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 May, 2001, 12:00am

The Secretary for Security yesterday admitted immigration officials kept a blacklist of undesirables after lawmakers asked whether Falun Gong members had been targeted during the recent Fortune Global Forum.

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee told a Legco panel examining security during the forum that it was 'normal practice' for a government to keep such a list, although she denied the sect had been singled out.

'There is no need for the Government to cover up these immigration matters,' Mrs Ip said.

'Immigration authorities of every region allow certain people to enter or not to enter. Every authority would have a list, a so-called blacklist.'

Falun Gong spokesman in Hong Kong Kan Hung-cheung claimed Mrs Ip's revelation proved that a list of Falun Gong members had been in existence for a long time.

During the three-day forum held two weeks ago up to 95 sect members from the United States, Britain, Australia and other countries were denied entry and deported.

Diplomats from the three countries demanded explanations from the SAR Government about the deportations.

Director of Immigration Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said at the time that no one had been barred because they were a member of the sect, while another official denied the Government had a list of Falun Gong members.

'This confirms our suspicion that the list exists and targets us,' Mr Kan said.

'Normally, whenever there are major international functions and our overseas members want to come, some are denied entry.

'Her admission is clear proof our members are on that blacklist.'

Democrat James To Kun-sun, deputy chairman of the panel, said it was no surprise the Government maintained a blacklist. 'It is common sense that the Government keeps such a list,' he said.