Stop blame game and focus efforts on helping undocumented boy Siu Yau-wai
Knowing who and what to believe about mainland boy Siu Yau-wai's story has become difficult. The denials and contradictions given by his grandmother, Chow Siu-shuen, unionist legislator Chan Yuen-han and the Immigration Department have caused confusion. What is certain, though, is that the 12-year-old, who had lived in Hong Kong for the past nine years and knows no other home, is now in limbo across the border. No matter what the prejudices of some in society, circumstances are such that he should be welcomed back so that he can again be among friends and fulfil a dream of being able to go to school.
There is no disputing that Yau-wai was in Hong Kong illegally. The Immigration Department has still to explain how he was able to live here undetected for so long after the three-month, two-way permit he arrived on expired. There may be others in a similar situation; they have to be located and any gaps in the system plugged. Chow broke the law by hiding him in her home and has to be dealt with accordingly.
The grandmother has made claims about what she was promised or told by the department and the Federation of Trade Union's Chan that have since been disputed. These include that a deportation order was about to be issued and that the boy's parents were waiting in Shenzhen at a given time and place to greet and take care of him. Amid increasingly heated protests by several small groups calling for Yau-wai to go back to the mainland, Chow said she was convinced voluntary repatriation was the best course. But when the pair passed Chinese customs, there was no one to meet them and confusion over the destination of a car waiting for them that had been organised by the union.
Chow has contradicted herself over whether she has had recent contact with Yau-wai's parents. Whether they truly abandoned him when he was three years old is not clear, although his mother has said that she does not want him back. It would appear he has a mainland residency permit, though; this has been confirmed by an immigration spokesman.
Questions need to be answered. But they are secondary to Yau-wai's well-being. The mainland's Public Security Bureau should count him among the 150 people daily issued a one-way permit and immigration officials grant him residency. He is an innocent victim. A proper education and decent life are all he wants - and Hong Kong, his home, offers that.