A 26-year-old pregnant Chinese woman was found guilty of remaining inside an Airport Restricted Area without a valid permit, and sentenced to six months in jail on Wednesday.

The defendant Xie Maoling had arrived at Hong Kong on July 14 last year and was supposed to board a flight to Guangzhou that night. She had remained in the Restricted Area for a week until she sought medical help due to labour pains on July 21, Apple Daily reported.

Hong Kong International Airport. File photo: Wikicommons.

According to the prosecutor, the flight had been delayed for more than 40 minutes because Xie said she was not feeling well. She neither approached the airline staff or asked for help from the airport staff. The Immigration Department arrested her after confirming that she did not have any valid permits, and had no reasonable excuse to stay in the Restricted Area, the Chinese-language daily Ming Pao reported.

The magistrate did not accept her argument, and said she deliberately stayed in the Restricted Area to give birth in Hong Kong.

The Hospital Authority (HA) statistics showed that among the 254 deliveries by non-eligible persons via public hospital Accident and Emergency Departments in 2015, 98 were from Mainland women without booking. Spokesperson from HA said public hospitals have ceased to accept delivery booking of non-local pregnant women since April 2012, and it is a high risk behaviour to rush to Emergency Department in the last minute.

Hospital Authority Non-emergency Ambulance. File photo: Wikicommons.

China’s long-standing “one-child” policy was abandoned as authorities set to allow couples to have two children, state media announced in October. Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said the policy of refusing delivery bookings from non-local women will remain.

In June, a Mainland pregnant woman had contracted a bogus marriage with a Hong Kong resident and illegally obtained a delivery booking from a private hospital. She was sentenced to 12 months of imprisonment at Sha Tin Magistrates’ Courts in December.

Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.