Hong Kong turns away visitors amid alleged terrorism fears

Travelers at Hong Kong International Airport. Source: Shutterstock/Sorbis

OFFICIAL statistics have revealed just under 14,000 people from Asia Pacific were refused entry into Hong Kong last year because the reasons for their visits were “doubtful”. This figure had more than doubled in the last three years.

A report by South China Morning Post quoted experts who claimed this could be because of heightened terrorism fears in the region. However, the state’s Immigration Department hasn’t yet confirmed the reason of refusal.

Security consultant and former police superintendent Clement Lai Ka-chi told the publication the rise in entry denials could be because of a “more firm attitude” from local law enforcement agencies coupled with Hong Kong’s status as an “easy target for a terrorist attack”.

The biggest source of refusals were mainland Chinese visitors at 37,959 last year; the rest were made up of visitors from the  Asia-Pacific region.

In a separate report published by Jakarta-based think tank Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), about 45 Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong have been radicalized and linked with Islamice State. However, this number is considered negligible in a country with 153,000 Indonesian domestic workers.

“Some of these women were drawn in by jihadi boyfriends they met online,” says IPAC analyst Nava Nuraniyah. “But some joined IS as a path to empowerment.”

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