When Vehka Harjani stood in line to cross the Lowu border into Shenzhen, an immigration officer tapped her on the shoulder and pointed at the queue for foreign nationals. She smiled and flashed her HKSAR Re-entry Permit, which the baffled officer looked at in disbelief. Only Chinese nationals are eligible for the permit. 'The lady at the counter smiled at me as if it was all very strange when I showed her the card,' said Vehka, 15. The Island School pupil is the first known case of an ethnic Indian with no Chinese blood or relatives being granted Chinese nationality and a Hong Kong SAR passport. Vehka's father, Vijay Harjani, who runs an export firm, said that when he first sent his secretary to the Immigration Department to obtain a form for his daughter last year, the officer flatly refused. 'He said to her: 'Your boss has no Chinese ethnic background so his daughter cannot get it',' Mr Harjani said. 'I spoke to him on the phone and said this British guy [InvestHK head Mike Rowse] had got it . . . if you are going to give it to them but not us, that is race discrimination.' The Immigration Officer finally gave her the forms, which Mr Harjani promptly filled out and sent back to the department through his secretary. 'The officer again asked the girl to give me a call and he kept asking me all sorts of irrelevant questions. I felt like a criminal being questioned.' Mr Harjani then called a senior officer who told him his daughter was eligible for an SAR passport provided she was willing to be naturalised as a Chinese national. 'My daughter wants to stay here, is doing her GCEs in Mandarin and was considering being a civil servant,' Mr Harjani said. 'We rarely go to India and have no more close family there, so there's really no point holding on to Indian nationality.' Mr Harjani, who came to Hong Kong from Pune, in India, 35 years ago, holds a full British passport, as do his two elder children. His wife holds a Singaporean passport. 'When [Vehka's] passport was finally approved, [the officer] told me to spread the word around to all my friends that as long as we are eligible, the Immigration Department will give anybody a passport irrespective of the colour of their skin.'