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.
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.
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 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.
Hong Kong Free Press relies on direct reader support. Help safeguard independent journalism and press freedom as we invest more in freelancers, overtime, safety gear & insurance during this summer’s protests. 10 ways to support us.