Erick Tsang Kwok-wai has been appointed as the new Director of Immigration and will take up the position on Tuesday, as his predecessor Chan Kwok-ki leaves the department after 33 years of service.

Tsang was nominated and recommended by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and the appointment was approved by the State Council. “Mr Tsang has accumulated nearly 29 years of experience and possesses extensive knowledge, making great strides in enhancing the efficiency and professionalism of the Immigration Department,” Leung said. “I am confident that he will rise up to the challenges ahead.”

The new Immigration Director is sworn in. Photo: GovHK.

Chan, 57, joined the Immigration Department in October 1982 and was appointed Director of Immigration in March 2011. During his term, he has expanded the number and functions of e-channels at immigration checkpoints, as well as signed agreements with various countries such as South Korea to shorten the waiting time of Hongkongers at immigration lines when travelling abroad, Oriental Daily reported.

Chan has adopted a hardline stance towards refugees and in February proposed setting up a new assistant director position to review the asylum-seeker screening mechanism, saying that it has been “abused”.

Hong Kong Immigration Department building in Wan Chai. Photo: WikiCommons.

Tsang, 52, joined the Immigration Department as an Assistant Immigration Officer in April 1987 and became the Deputy Director of Immigration in 2014. He is also the recipient of the Secretary for the Civil Service’s Commendation in 2004, the Hong Kong Immigration Service Long Service Medal in 2005 with first clasp in 2012, the Director of Immigration’s Commendation in 2011 and the Hong Kong Immigration Service Medal for Distinguished Service in 2015.

Clarification 12:15pm: An earlier headline on this report suggested that Tsang had previously voiced a hardline stance on refugees. In fact, the outgoing Immigration Director Chan Kwok-ki had.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.