Pro-Beijing lawmaker Ng Leung-sing has suggested adopting on-train immigration inspections for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL). Ng was speaking at a political conference in Beijing on Monday.

The Hong Kong section of the XRL project has been plagued with controversies, including budget overruns and a proposal to put a joint Hong Kong-mainland checkpoint in Kowloon West at the arrival terminal. Some pan-democratic lawmakers argued that the suggestion could harm the “One Country, Two Systems” principle that guarantees Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Ng proposed that the central government give authority to Hong Kong customs officers to conduct checkpoint inspections on board the train. The officers will receive training and will be knowledgeable about the relevant laws, he added.

Ng Leung-sing
Ng Leung-sing. Photo: Stand News.

He said that he did not want the XRL project to be left unfinished and thought that the proposal could foster cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong, as well as Macau.

The pro-democracy Civic Party has also previously suggested conducting inspections on the train. However, their idea was criticised as the train takes less than 15 minutes to reach Hong Kong from Futian, according to Apple Daily. It is unclear how Ng’s suggestions will be received.

Rita Fan, a member of the National People’s Conference Standing Committee who was also at the meeting with Ng, told reporters that she did not hear Ng’s proposal clearly.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.