Saudi sisters leave HK for new life in third country

March 26, 2019 16:29
The Saudi sisters, seen here in a file photo taken in Hong Kong on March 20, have secured humanitarian visas to an undisclosed country. Photo: Reuters

A new home, a new life.

The two young sisters from Saudi Arabia, who got stranded in Hong Kong for more than six months in their attempt to escape to Australia, have finally found a new home.

The sisters, aged 18 and 20, have been granted emergency humanitarian visas to an undisclosed third country, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing a media statement from their lawyer.

They have started their new lives in their new home after leaving Hong Kong late last week, according to the statement.

Their lawyer Michale Vidler said further details such as how they were able to secure their visas, their current status, and how they are doing in their new home, will be not disclosed to ensure their security.

Earlier this month, Vidler said Hong Kong’s Immigration Department had allowed them to continue staying in the city until April 8.

The sisters 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.

Their passports had been revoked, according to the sisters, and as such they had been stuck in the city.

In the statement, the sisters, who go by pseudonyms Reem (the elder of the two) and Rawan, said they have found their way to safety and are now restarting their lives “free of violence and oppression”.

“We want to say loud and clear to the Saudi authorities and other regimes which treat women unequally: never underestimate the strength of brave women.”

Vidler said in the statement they are now “beginning their lives as free young women, looking forward to assimilating into the local culture, contributing to their new home country and leading lives as equal human beings.”

“The sisters have also asked us to extend their very grateful thanks to all the individuals who have quietly and selflessly assisted them over the last six months,” he added.

The statement also expressed thanks to both local and international media for supporting the two sisters' cause.

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