A member of a centrist political party was denied entry to Macau for security reasons as he tried to attend an economic conference in the former Portuguese colony.

Third Side member Wong Chun-long said he was detained for around an hour after disembarking from the Macau ferry. “There are strong references that you intend to enter the Macao SAR to participate in certain activities which may jeopardize the public security or public order of the Macao SAR,” a document given to him said, citing Article 17 of the city’s internal security law.

The Third Side party was founded by ex-democrats and advocates for a moderate political stance that differs from both the pro-establishment and pro-democracy camps.

Wong Chun-long
Wong Chun-long.

Wong said it was his first time to be barred from Macau and speculated that it could be related to the city’s 18th Handover anniversary on Wednesday. He said he was able to enter the city on September 28 – a few days before China’s National Day – and usually enters Macau a few times every year.

“I speculated that there may be a five per cent chance I may be barred… turns out it was indeed within the five per cent,” he told Apple Daily.

He said he was planning to attend a conference on Macau’s finance and information technology sectors.

But as he arrived in Macau, he was told by immigration officers to fill in a questionnaire about his itinerary. He responded by showing them a poster advertising the conference and said he would leave as late as Tuesday night.

He said he spent a quarter of his year in China and has never been barred from entry, and thus it was unreasonable for Macau to deny entry to him. His party will write to the Hong Kong Security Bureau to express its dissatisfaction, Wong said.

“I don’t want young people to be barred because they support moderate politics,” he added.

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

Several lawmakers, district councillors and activists were barred from entering Macau this year, including lawmaker Kenneth Leung, who was able to enter China for a tour inspecting water facilities just days before he was denied entry.

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.