Two pro-democracy activists have been deported by Macau hours after successfully entering the Special Administrative Region, which is currently hosting a Chinese state leader. It came after several other Hong Kong pro-democracy figures were denied entry ahead of the visit.

Third-ranking Chinese leader Zhang Dejiang, who is in charge of overseeing Hong Kong and Macau affairs, arrived on Monday for a three-day visit to the former Portuguese colony.

From left: Wong Tan-ching and Hui Lap-san.

Wong Tan-ching, the convenor of the group Tuen Mun Community Network, was able to enter Macau at around 1pm on Monday with a friend. He said they were stopped by local police on the Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro at around 7pm that day, a major local road and tourist attraction.

As his friend had left his immigration forms at a hotel room, they were brought to a local police station to confirm his identity.

Wong said he was later taken to the organised crime division, where he was asked if he was in contact with the Macanese pro-democracy group New Macau Association and its vice-president Sulu Sou Ka-hou. But his group said he has no contact whatsoever with the Association and Sou.

Wong was deported at around 1am on Tuesday citing threats to internal security of Macau.

‘Political suppression’ 

Wong said he had planned a tourist trip more than a month ago and he did not know Zhang would be visiting.

“The Network is deeply disappointed by the Macanese authorities’ unreasonable act. We hope the Macanese government will stop political suppression in the form of unreasonable deportation,” his group said in a statement.

The pro-democracy group was formed in January last year to tackle issues facing Tuen Mun community. Wong also ran for a seat in the chief executive election committee last year. He advocated for boycotting the election but failed to secure a seat.

Zhang Dejiang (right) meeting with Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on. Photo: Macau gov.

Deported when leaving

Another pro-democracy activist Hui Lap-san, an assistant for a district councillor, entered Macau as a tourist on Sunday to meet his girlfriend.

Hui arrived at the Taipa ferry terminal at 9:30pm on Monday to return to Hong Kong, only to be detained by Macanese immigration.

He was then brought to the police headquarters and was also asked if he was in contact with Macanese activists. The police also said their documents showed Hui joined the 2014 pro-democracy occupy protests, but Hui denied he was in Hong Kong during the time.

He was detained for two hours and then deported, citing the same reasons for Wong’s deportation.

“I don’t understand how I create threats to Macau’s internal security,” he said.

From left: Ray Chan, Andrew Wan, Kenneth Leung.

Mass denial of entry

The incidents came after several Hong Kong lawmakers, district councillors and other pro-democracy figures were denied entry to Macau before Zhang’s visit.

They were stopped at the Macau border after arriving and taken to interrogation rooms. None were able to step into Macau.

Many of them had said they intended to go to Macau as tourists and no political activities were involved. However, they were deported citing threats to the internal security of Macau.

Among them was lawmaker Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong who was denied entry last month, just days after he was able to enter China for a tour inspecting water facilities.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.