About 6,900 Hong Kong people emigrated last year, marking a 9 percent drop from 2013 and the lowest figure in a decade, according to the Security Bureau.
Immigration consultants, however, said the number of people who chose to relocate overseas last year could be higher after the Occupy protests but this is not reflected in the figures because immigration is a lengthy process, Ming Pao Daily reported.
The Security Bureau said its emigration figures were deduced from the number of applications for police clearance.
Of those who emigrated last year, 2,200 people opted to live in the United States, up 15.8 percent from 2013, while the number of those who chose Australia and Canada fell 13.6 percent and 20 percent respectively.
In his policy address last month, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he would like to encourage children of Hong Kong emigrants to return to the territory, but some of the returnees are already considering leaving the city again due to new problems such as soaring high prices and increasing political pressure from Beijing.
Eddie Kwan, chairman of EK Immigration Consulting Limited, said he received up to 10 phone inquiries about emigration daily during the Occupy protests in the last months of 2014, although the number has normalized to one or two inquiries a day.
Kwan said his company had no clients seeking to emigrate through investment schemes, adding that most of the applications were from people who wanted to complete their studies overseas.
Poon, 26, who emigrated to Australia with his parents before the 1997 handover, said he was disappointed by what he saw in Hong Kong when he returned to the territory, noting that it is no longer the place he used to know.
“I felt it’s no longer ‘one country, two systems’, we are just like one of the mainland cities,” he said.
Poon said he was angered by how police attacked the pro-democracy protesters on Sept. 28 last year and the government’s inaction over the parallel goods traders from the mainland.
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