Stranded Saudi sisters allowed to stay until April 8

March 08, 2019 15:27
Although allowed to stay for another month, the Saudi sisters have been told by immigration authorities that they could be liable to prosecution and deportation as they have overstayed in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters

Hong Kong’s Immigration Department has allowed two young sisters from Saudi Arabia to continue staying in the city for one more month, according to their lawyer.

Lawyer Michael Vidler said in a statement on Thursday the sisters' presence in the city will be “further tolerated” until April 8.

However, according to Vidler, a letter from the Director of Immigration said the sisters, aged 18 and 20, could be liable to prosecution and deportation as they have already overstayed, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

He said he is “urgently seeking clarification” from the department and will continue to ask that the two be granted emergency rescue visas to a third country.

In a statement, the sisters said they are living in constant fear of being found by Saudi authorities and forced to go back to the kingdom.

They said they feel like “fish trapped in a little oasis that is rapidly drying out".

All they want is to go to a third country where they will no longer be fearful of being found by Saudi authorities and their family, and of being taken back to the kingdom, they said.

Asked about their petition, the Immigration Bureau declined to comment on individual cases or disclose information on individual cases, adding that it performs its work according to relevant laws.

The duo arrived in Hong Kong on Sept. 6 last year after they left their parents during a family trip in Sri Lanka and prepared to transfer to Australia.

They had managed to escape from Saudi consular officials in Hong Kong, who were said to have intercepted them at the airport and prevented them from flying to Australia as they intended.

According to the sisters, their passports had been revoked, and so they are stuck in the city.

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