MANILA – A Hong Kong legislator on Wednesday denounced the special Chinese administrative region's move to bar former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday, when she and her family flew in for a vacation.
In a statement, Hong Kong opposition lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung said the immigration personnel’s decision against the erstwhile Filipino official was “barbaric” as it is “unreasonable and departs from rule of law.”
The 78-year-old flew to Hong Kong with her children and grandchildren for a family vacation Tuesday. But upon arrival at the airport around noon, she was denied from entering the city and was held in a room by immigration authorities for almost four hours.
No explanation was given to her, but she believes it was connected with the communication she and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario filed before the International Criminal Court against Chinese President Xi Jinping for allegedly committing crimes against humanity for China’s aggressive activities in the West Philippine Sea.
“Looks like political reasons rather than security reasons were considered. Under the ‘one country two systems’ policy, the Hong Kong government has no legal basis to consider the court case that has nothing to do with Hong Kong,” Hui said.
He said if the denial was due to the complaint against Beijing, it is for the court to make the judgement, not immigration authorities.
“Denial of entry based on a court case is plain barbaric,” he stated.
The ban was lifted hours later on Tuesday, but Carpio Morales decided to fly back home the same night saying she was exhausted and disappointed.
Hui surmised that the incident was a show of Beijing’s control over Hong Kong immigration.
“This incident harms Hong Kong’s declining international reputation. Though the ban has already been lifted, I still urge and expect the Hong Kong government to explain this case openly,” he said.
The Philippines may not question the action taken by Chinese immigration officials against Morales, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said.
He said countries have the “exclusive and sovereign prerogative” to refuse the entry of a foreigner.
Malacañang also said it defers to the immigration laws and rules of other countries.