The decision to block overseas Falun Gong practitioners from entering Hong Kong to attend a conference earlier this year was unconstitutional because it hampered the ability of local members to share their spiritual practices, a court heard yesterday. The claim was made on behalf of Kan Hung-cheung, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Falun Dafa, who is targeting the director of immigration in an application for leave to apply for a judicial review. Mr Kan must now wait to see if he can argue his case before a full hearing after Madame Justice Carlye Chu Fun-ling reserved her decision. The Court of First Instance was told that four of the Taiwanese practitioners who were stopped at Chek Lap Kok airport - Theresa Chu Woan-chyi, Liao Hsiao-lan, Lu Lih-ching and Chang Jenn-yen - were granted leave on April 29 to conduct a judicial review into the director of immigration's decision. Counsel representing Mr Kan, Paul Harris, yesterday told the Court of First Instance that the four applicants were among 82 overseas Falun Gong practitioners refused entry into Hong Kong on February 22 this year to attend the conference. Three of the four had been due to speak at the conference. Mr Harris said it was essential the court make a ruling on the matter as the Association of Falun Dafa was planning a conference in 2004 and wanted to know if there would be a repeat of this year's incident. Mr Harris said the immigration director's decision had breached Article 141 of the Basic Law, which states the Hong Kong government shall not restrict the freedom of religious beliefs, interfere in the internal affairs of religious organisations or restrict religious activities.