Date
17 December 2017
It is an open secret that the majority of bogus “asylum seekers” from South Asia and Africa come to Hong Kong mainly for a better life and not to escape from political persecution. Photo: HKEJ
It is an open secret that the majority of bogus “asylum seekers” from South Asia and Africa come to Hong Kong mainly for a better life and not to escape from political persecution. Photo: HKEJ

Time to say ‘no’ to phony asylum seekers

It is time the Hong Kong government tightened the entry of so-called asylum seekers into our beloved city. It is an open secret that the majority of these bogus “asylum seekers” from South Asia and Africa are economic migrants. They come to Hong Kong mainly for a better life and not to escape from political persecution.

Local people can tolerate them if they remain as law-abiding residents. Unfortunately many of them don’t, as the latest police statistics reveal, and subsequently local residents’ peaceful life is being disturbed. This is not acceptable. The government must take action.

Police figures released recently show that arrests of non-ethnic Chinese in Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Ma Tei districts are expected to surge 47 percent this year, reaching a historic high of 832 cases, from 565 cases in 2016. Hong Kong has 18 districts. If crime numbers from all 18 districts are tallied, the total crime figure could be staggering.

Potential economic migrants from South Asia and Africa know extremely well that as long as they arrive in Hong Kong by air, sea or land (through mainland China) and tell Hong Kong immigration officers that they are “asylum seekers”, automatically they can enter Hong Kong with no questions asked. Perhaps the Hong Kong government, in light of the rising crime figures, should be less indiscriminate in allowing these economic migrants to enter our city.

Crimes committed by fake asylum-seekers aren’t unheard of. Some even have formed criminal gangs. In May 2017, the police in Kowloon’s Shumshuipo district arrested 40 Indian and Pakistani asylum-seekers who were fighting each other with knives, golf clubs and cricket bats.

I am definitely not alone in spotting this fake asylum seekers problem. Social workers in the Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Ma Tei districts also believe that the increased number of “fake” asylum seekers is a factor for the increase in non-ethnic Chinese arrests.

The police say those arrested in Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Ma Tei were largely involved in shoplifting, general theft and possession of drugs. It is widely known that the bulk of crimes are committed by fake asylum seekers from South Asia and Africa in the two Kowloon districts. Of course, we cannot rule out that a small number of those non-ethnic Chinese criminals are visitors from Japan, Europe and North America.

A police spokeswoman reportedly said the police are very concerned about the crime situation in the Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Ma Tei districts and will continue to conduct “various intelligence-led operations and stepped-up patrols” to combat crime.

To nip the crime problem in the bud and protect local citizens, the Hong Kong government should tighten the entry of fake “asylum seekers” from South Asia and Africa. Hong Kong people are kind and compassionate. To be cruel to our citizens, by opening a floodgate to fake asylum seekers, nonetheless, is callous.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RT/RA

Adjunct professor at Hong Kong Shue Yan University

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