Some of the mainland children barred from studying while fighting for right of abode could begin classes next week after applying yesterday for places at schools defying the government ban. Their move came as Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee issued a fresh warning to schools of the consequences of admitting any of the 170 mainland children. The youngsters are barred from school but can stay temporarily while awaiting the results of their abode applications. Fourteen children yesterday applied to the three schools that announced on Monday they would defy the ban. Others tried their luck at schools run by the Catholic Diocese which have also agreed to help. Adopted mainland girl Lo Ka-ling, seven, who registered with the Castle Peak Catholic Primary School in Tuen Mun yesterday, said: 'The school is very big. I'm very happy.' But Mrs Ip warned schools of the implications for Hong Kong of admitting the children, saying that could encourage snakeheads to smuggle in more children. 'Look at the forest, not just a few trees,' she said. 'After the schools have admitted the children, would they then refuse to be repatriated, saying they're studying well and have integrated into society?' But Pun Tin-chi, headmaster of Grantham College of Education Past Students' Association Whampoa Garden Primary School - one of the three that have ignored the ban - said he could not see how education could be linked to immigration control, as the children could still be repatriated. 'I hope these children can start their classes some time next week,' he said. Legislator Cheung Man-kwong rejected Mrs Ip's remarks and said: 'We're not looking at just a few trees, but the big forest of human rights, which includes the right to education.' Six Christian organisations yesterday issued an open letter urging Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa to lift the ban and the Christian schools to enrol the children by negotiating with education and immigration officials. Reverend Yuen Tin-yau, executive secretary of the school education division of the Methodist Church, said he would discuss the matter with the 16 schools they ran to see if they could help. Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, supervisor of Chai Wan Baptist Church Kindergarten, said he would admit the children. The education secretary of Sheng Kung Hui, Timothy Ha Wing-ho, said it would let its 150 schools make their own decisions. Legislator Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee said the Government had so far failed to say which law the school ban was based upon and said there was nothing applicable in the education or immigration ordinances. Immigration regulations require a visitor not to become a student. But Ms Ng said: 'The law says 'shall not become a student', meaning it's a categorical no. If this law is applied to these children, how come some mainland children have been allowed to go to school in the past?'