The Hong Kong government is aiming to plug some loopholes in the system that has allowed several “fake refugees” to stay in the city for extended periods.
As authorities grapple with more than 10,000 pending torture claim applications from asylum seekers, it has been found that some applicants have made false declarations about persecution back home, Singtao Daily reported.
The migrants made false claims to take advantage of loopholes in local policies and gain themselves as much time as possible to stay in Hong Kong, it said.
The fake refugees tend to appeal immediately if their applications are rejected. That buys them more time, often several years, for continued stay in the city.
As the Immigration Department suspends further action, including deportation, on the people, the government has to spend a huge amount of money.
The government provides financial support for each of those refugees, through food stamps and housing and transportation allowances that add up to as much as HK$3,000 per month per person.
Many of the self-claimed refugees are living in Lo Uk Tsuen in Yuen Long.
A Pakistani man aged over 40 told a reporter that he has been in Hong Kong for 13 years since he first filed a torture claim application in 2002.
He claimed that his life was under threat back in Pakistan, and that’s the reason he sought asylum in Hong Kong.
But the interesting thing is that his wife and two children are still living in Pakistan and apparently safe.
Without providing evidence of his alleged persecution back home, the man has been just trying to extend his stay in the city.
When authorities ask for some information to review his refugee status, he says he is yet to receive the documents from home.
Meanwhile, the man complains that the assistance provided by the Hong Kong government is inadequate.
Given such cases, authorities are looking at tightening the policy framework, according to the report.
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