Time to shut door to asylum seekers


There are about 6,000 asylum seekers in Hong Kong. Many of them have been here for more than a decade. I know one man who has been here for 15 years, during which time he has been in prison 10 times for working illegally, stealing and other offences.

Asylum seekers are caught in "no-man's land": they are not allowed to work, and are given below poverty-line help by the government. So they work illegally and steal to support themselves.

But the government is in a bind: if it gives more help to asylum seekers, more will come. The situation is further complicated by people-smuggling gangs who encourage economic migrants to come from South Asia and Vietnam.

If HK shuts the door to asylum seekers (like Singapore), the present lose-lose situation (for the seekers and for HK society) will stop, and then maybe something can be done for the trapped 6,000.