Activists say mainlanders seeking family reunion could fill children's quota With mainland children not using their full daily quota of one-way permits to come to Hong Kong and exercise their right of abode, their places should go to others wishing to settle in the city for family reunions, an activist and an academic said yesterday. Under the one-way permit system, a maximum of 150 mainland residents a day may arrive in Hong Kong. Sixty of those daily places are reserved for children with right of abode in the city. However, this year only an average of 37 children settled in Hong Kong each day. Social rights activist Ho Hei-wah, director of the Society for Community Organisation, said the government should allow other applicants who want to come to Hong Kong for family reunions to use the remaining quota. 'The government overestimated the number of children with right of abode in town. There simply aren't as many as 1.67 million, as was suggested a few years ago,' he said. 'The government should give the remaining quota to other applicants, such as wives or husbands who have been separated from their spouses for a long time. 'I think there will be even fewer children coming,' he added. Government figures show that last year, an average of 46 children a day with right of abode arrived in Hong Kong, down from a daily average of 80 in 2001, which was the peak year for arrivals. In 2000, the average was 72, in 1999, it was 66, and in 1998, the average was 71. Chinese University social work professor Wong Chack-kie said the government needed to be flexible about who filled the daily places. 'No other party except the government has done research on how many mainlanders will come to Hong Kong every day,' he said. 'What the government should do is to be flexible within the 150 quota because family reunion means more than allowing just those children with right of abode to come to Hong Kong. It also includes other types of family reunion, such as spouses who have been separated for a long time. At the same time, it should review the quota every now and then.' But Lam Dao-shing, who is still waiting for his now-adult son to be given a one-way permit, said the quota was underused because the mainland authorities were slow to approve applicants. 'Some parents have been waiting for more than 10 years,' he said.