Despite increasing pressure on Macau to give a full explanation on why a South China Morning Post photographer was barred from the special administrative region two days ago, a Macau minister yesterday stressed officials acted according to the law. Macau's Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak-yuen, who was in Hong Kong yesterday to attend a conference, did not comment on individual cases. 'Macau welcomes people and friends from various places and various sectors, to come for tourism, visiting relatives, work, and look for business opportunities,' he said. 'But at the same time, our department controlling entry and exit will act, depending on the concrete circumstances, and the requirements of the law - just as any jurisdiction in the rest of the world - to effectively control the entry and exit [of people].' On Wednesday, Post photographer Felix Wong Chi-keung was denied entry even though he had a Macau permit to cover the trial of disgraced former secretary for transport and public works Ao Man-long. It was apparently the first time Macau has barred a Hong Kong journalist. Wong said the immigration officer had cited an internal security law before returning him to Hong Kong. The Post has written to the Macau government stressing Wong's press credentials and demanded an apology as well as an assurance his freedom of movement will not be restricted, but no response has been received so far. Mr Tam gave neither an apology nor an explanation for border officials barring the Post photographer. But he stressed Macau's right to administer its immigration controls. Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, also at the same conference yesterday, said the Hong Kong government had contacted Macau to express its concern and hoped it would follow up on the incident. He also said 'this is a matter between two brothers in the same family', in an apparent response to previous demands that the government seek an explanation from Beijing. The Hong Kong Journalists' Association expressed concerns this could be a 'prelude to further tightening of press freedom' and said its previous stance against Macau's national security law was 'not without reason'. The statement also said it was difficult to understand the logic of denying a press photographer with full credentials from entering on the grounds of security and demanded an explanation from officials. The International Federation of Journalists also called on authorities to give an explanation. The Macau Portuguese and English Press Association also expressed its concerns and was worried the incident would undermine the city's image. Yesterday, Democratic Party members handed a petition for a full explanation to a Macau representative outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the conference with Macau officials was being held. The Democratic Party will also raise an adjournment debate to discuss the issue on March 4. Macau legislator Jose Coutinho said he believed Macau was using a blacklist compiled by people outside the city, as people who pose no apparent harm had been barred. 'There seems to be a list coming from outside. Such incidents are damaging Macau's image in the world,' he said. Two weeks before the Olympics, Wong was taken away by Beijing police while covering a chaotic queue for Games tickets and held for several hours for kicking an officer while being dragged off. He was released after expressing regret for inadvertently hurting the officer. He has since had no problem entering the mainland. On January 11, he was permitted entry to Macau.