LegCo Panel on Security
Preventive Measures Against Illegal Immigration


This paper informs Members of preventive measures taken by the Administration against illegal immigration since the Court of Final Appeal delivered its judgment on 29 January 1999 on the Certificate of Entitlement Scheme.

Measures Taken

2. The Administration is committed to guarding against any possible influx of illegal immigrants. Apart from its on-going efforts to combat illegal immigration, the Police have taken a series of additional preventive measures since January 1999. These include enhanced control along the land border, strengthening of action at sea, closer liaison with Mainland authorities and other measures.

Initiatives along the Land Border

3. Since the Court of Final Appeal delivered its judgment on 29 January 1999, all police officers on duty along the land border and elsewhere in the territory have been put on full alert. Extra manpower from the Quick Reaction Force and the Police Tactical Unit also stands ready.

4. At the three border crossing points, three Under Vehicle Surveillance Systems have been installed in addition to a variety of existing electronic equipment such as Thermal Imagers and Handheld Infra-red Under Vehicle Detectors. To further enhance our anti-illegal immigration capability, we are in the process of testing and evaluating various sensor cable systems for the fence along the land border. The entire fence protection system will be replaced by 2001 to improve Police's capability to maintain the integrity of the land border.

Actions at Sea

5. Maritime patrol has been stepped up by all sea-going units to protect the integrity of the sea border. Inshore patrol duties on outlying islands have been strengthened and Observation Posts manned to monitor illegal immigration activities. Moreover, the Small Boat Division is on full alert and will provide fast boat response and interception when needed. Fast interceptors, equipped with radar and Global Positioning Systems, are available to combat illegal immigration by speed boat ("Tai Fe").

Liaison with Mainland Authorities

6. There is close co-operation between the Police and Mainland authorities on prevention of illegal immigration. The Mainland authorities have strengthened their border defence since the delivery of the CFA's judgment. They have adequate manpower and are fully equipped and readily deployable to take up any further preventive measures. Measures have also been taken to prevent unauthorized exit to Hong Kong by using false and unlawfully obtained travel documents.

7. Apart from the above, a dedicated hotline has been established with the Shenzhen Border Defence Sub-Bureau to enable an efficient and direct flow of tactical intelligence.

Other Measures

8. The Police have in place a series of contingency plans in the event of a mass influx of illegal immigrant -

    (a) reinforcement along the land border;
    (b) reinforcement at sea; and
    (c) detention and repatriation of illegal immigrants.
These plans will be deployed as appropriate in case of mass influx of illegal immigrants.

Statistics on Illegal Immigration

9. The average daily illegal immigrants arrested in the past four months was 33. This is lower than the daily average of 47 in the preceding four months. As shown below, this is also lower than the daily average of 34 and 54 in the corresponding period in 1998 and 1997 respectively:

    No. of illegal immigrants intercepted

    1999922 (33)1086 (35)973 (32)974 (31)3955 (33)
    1998859 (31)1073 (35)1068 (36)1121 (36)4121 (34)
    19971557 (56)2145 (69)1568 (52)1208 (39)6478 (54)
No. in brackets denotes daily average

10. The drop in illegal immigration from the Mainland during recent months is the result of strengthened preventive measures by the law-enforcing authorities on both sides of the border. The Administration will continue to take all necessary measures to prevent any influx of illegal immigrants.

Security Bureau
June 1999