A high-ranking government official has come under fire for allegedly receiving special privileges after he was allowed to cross the border and return to Hong Kong although he failed to present his identity and travel documents to immigration officers.
Roy Tang Yun-kwong, permanent secretary of the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, joined Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and other officials and guests at the opening ceremony for the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) on Sept. 22, and took the high-speed Vibrant Express train to the Guangzhou South Station that morning.
However, Tang lost his Hong Kong ID card and home visit permit on his return trip, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports. The documents must be presented at the immigration checkpoint by Hong Kong permanent residents entering or leaving the mainland.
Tang could only show his VIP pass for the ceremony and train ticket with his name on it to mainland immigration personnel stationed at the border checkpoint after he arrived at the West Kowloon terminus, the Hong Kong end of the high-speed rail line.
Nonetheless, Tang was still allowed to pass through before Hong Kong immigration staff confirmed his identity and let him enter.
According to China Travel Service (Hong Kong), Hong Kong permanent residents who lose their home visit permit in the mainland have to go in person to its branches at Lo Wu Port or Futian Port to apply for a temporary pass, which requires one working day to complete.
But Tang apparently was spared the trouble.
In response to inquiries about the incident on Monday, Tang admitted having been careless as he acknowledged that all passengers should follow the instructions given by mainland immigration officers.
The Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau confirmed the incident but dismissed accusations that Tang received special treatment.
Tang was notified the following day by MTR Corp., operator of the Express Rail Link, that his lost identity card had been found.
He then canceled a police report he had filed after passing through the Hong Kong immigration checkpoint at the West Kowloon Station.
Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho slammed Tang for not rejecting the preferential treatment accorded him by immigration officers, and said he should apologize to the Hong Kong public, RTHK reported.
As a civil servant, Tang should have followed the procedures at the immigration checkpoint just like any ordinary Hong Kong citizen, Tam said.
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