Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung has said that it was “legal and justified” for mainland Chinese authorities to exercise jurisdiction on parts of a cross-border mega bridge, after Zhuhai police arrested a Hong Kong man en route to Macau.

The man was detained last Friday while travelling through the eastern artificial island of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which is under Chinese jurisdiction. Zhuhai authorities said the man was arrested for his alleged involvement in an illegal phone smuggling case in 2012.

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Photo: GovHK.

There is normally no checkpoint on the artificial island, but security has been ramped up in anticipation of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Macau to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the territory’s handover on Friday.

Asked about the incident ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, Cheung said he could not reveal details about the case owing to privacy concerns but said that relevant authorities were following up on it.

Matthew Cheung. Photo:

Cheung said the checkpoint on the artificial island was a temporary measure in place for Xi’s visit and urged the public not to over-interpret the incident.

“It’s perfectly justified for them to exercise jurisdiction within their own territory, it’s entirely legal and justified,” he said, adding that he could not comment on operational matters of mainland and Macau authorities.

A two-person team from Now TV took a bus along the cross-border bridge to Macau on Monday to cover the Handover anniversary events. The channel said it had given the names of its employees to Macau authorities beforehand.

NowTV said the crew were checked by security at the eastern artificial island checkpoint. The cameraman was allowed to continue on to Macau but the reporter was denied entry by mainland authorities without explanation, after being detained for around an hour.

The locations of the artificial islands. Photo: GovHK.

The reporter told Now TV that Chinese officers did not say whether he was being denied entry by Macau or mainland authorities. Asked if he was permanently barred from entry, an officer told him that the ban would be in place for only a “few days.”

Asked about the incident, Cheung said he also could not comment on operational matters of mainland and Macau authorities. He added that the Hong Kong government would provide assistance to Hong Kong people if needed.

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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.