4:32 pm - Tuesday September 25, 4007

Bangladeshi jobseekers being smuggled into Hong kong

The illegal jobseekers, mostly from Bangladesh and Pakistan are allegedly being smuggled into Hong Kong (HK) through Shenzhen of China, an HK-based English daily reported on Sunday.

The South China Morning Post report claimed that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh or Pakistan had entered HK by boat in the past years.

Middlemen are supposedly paid HK$10,000 to HK$12,000 to take illegal immigrants to Hong Kong by high-speed boat. Photo taken from South China Morning Post.

Migrants fly into cities across mainland China and head to Shenzhen, where they pay middlemen HK$10,000 to HK$12,000 to illegally enter HK in the past years.

The report revealed a 50% year-on-year rise in the number of non-ethnic-Chinese illegal immigrants arrested in HK.

The official police figures show the number rose from 291 in the first half of last year to 447 in the same period this year, the report mentioned.

Begum Shamsun Nahar, director general of Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), today denied the HK’s daily’s claim about the Bangladeshis.

“We don’t have any information of male migrants’ illegal trip to Hong Kong. Besides, our embassy has never informed us of this issue,” she told The Daily Star.

She, however, said the male jobseekers might go to HK if they have employment opportunities there.

But the female migrants are going to HK legally under an agreement with the host country’s government, Shamsun Nahar added.

“Around 1000 to 2000 female migrants are currently working as domestic maid in HK legally,” she mentioned.

This year a total of 246 domestic maids went to HK till July while 323 others had gone last year, according to BMET statistics.

However, the HK police public relations bureau said they had noted an increase in illegal immigration in the first half of this year.

Kamal, a Bangladeshi living in HK, said the use of Shenzhen as a staging post for illegal entry to HK had grown in the past decade as visa restrictions for South Asians were tightened.

Visa-free access for Bangladeshi nationals was withdrawn in 2006.