The chairman and the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong were denied entry to the Chinese city of Macau Saturday, a spokesperson for the organisation said.

Chairman Robert Grieves and president Tara Joseph were separately prevented from entering the neighbouring semi-autonomous city on their way to the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCham) Macau Ball, an AmCham spokesperson said in a statement.

Tara Joseph. Photo: American Chamber of Commerce.

Both were given “no reason” for being turned away, they added, with the two returning to Hong Kong after being made to sign a statement that they agreed not to pursue entry into Macau.

AmCham said they were “puzzled” as to why the two were refused entry to the annual social gathering.

“We hope that this is just an over reaction to the current events and that international business can constructively forge ahead,” the statement added.

Last week, US President Donald Trump signed a law that supported pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which has been rocked by several months of often violent unrest demanding greater autonomy — which Beijing has frequently blamed on foreign influence.

The movement will mark its sixth month on Sunday with protesters hoping to get out huge crowds to keep pressure on the city’s pro-Beijing leadership for greater freedoms and police accountability.

Robert Grieves. Photo: AmCham.

In response to the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, China suspended US warship visits to the territory and said it had imposed sanctions on American NGOs, though it has not released any details on what they entail.

Last year, Victor Mallet, a senior journalist with the Financial Times, was refused a work visa extension and then barred from entering the city as a tourist after he chaired a talk by an independence activist at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.


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