Netizen shares 'traumatic’ experience of being detained, denied entry by Hong Kong Immigration


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MANILA, Philippines – A netizen shared her and her friends’ 'traumatic’ experience of being detained and denied entry by Hong Kong Immigration officers.
Netizen shares 'traumatic’ experience of being detained, denied entry by Hong Kong Immigration

What started out as a dream come true soon became a nightmare for Grace Anne Bartolome and her friends. The group was looking forward to their first trip to Hong Kong. But all their excitement was gone when they were held up by Immigration officers at the Hong Kong International Airport.

Netizen shares 'traumatic’ experience of being detained, denied entry by Hong Kong Immigration
Grace Anne Bartolome shared her group’s experience of being detained and denied entry | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Grace Anne Bartolome

Bartolome said, “Sa dami daming tao na kasabay namin bumaba bakit kami pa ang natyempuhan, siguro kami lang yung nakasmile ng abot langit sa sobrang tuwa namin.”

Bartolome's group was then asked by a group of men in blue polo with the word “Immigration” to follow them to their office. There, they were asked many questions and searched for several documents. A man who introduced himself as an Immigration Officer asked Bartolome and her friends to sign a piece of paper and told them that they need to go back to the Philippines.

With this, the ladies started becoming emotional for their long-planned vacation. They refused to sign anything and pleaded. Bartolome started asking the officer for a reason for being denied entry. She said she told the officer, “Sir! Pls. We save our money for this! We are only here for vacation, nothing else! So ples! Why your so unfair!”

But their pleadings fell on deaf ears. The ladies asked the officers if they can at least inform an aunt who was supposed to pick them up, about their whereabouts. Bartolome was chosen to leave the group but instead of seeing their aunt, she was again searched by another officer and had her phone confiscated.

When Bartolome was finally back with the group, they were detained for 10 hours as they waited for their flight back to the Philippines.

Bartolome said, “Halos 10hrs kaming nadetain, para kaming mga preso dun. Yung puyat, pagod at gutom. Halo halo na yung nararamdamn namin. Hanggang napagod na kami umiyak at nilibang ang sarili.”

When they finally came back to the Philippines, the Philippine officers admitted that it was not the first time such a incident happened.

The post has gone viral with over 16,400 shares as of press time.

Netizens share their experiences

As the Facebook post has gone viral, many netizens decided to share their experiences in traveling abroad and dealing with immigration protocols.

Under Hong Kong's Cap. 115 Immigration Ordinance updated 2018, an Immigration officer or immigration assistant may “subject to examine any person on his arrival or landing in or prior to departure from Hong Kong, or if he has reasonable cause.”

Even under our own Philippine Immigration Law or the Commonwealth Act 613, the immigration officers have the power to allow or deny entry to any foreign national entering our country. Sec. 6 states, “The examination of aliens concerning their right to enter or remain in the Philippines shall be performed by Immigrant Inspectors, with the advice of medical authorities in appropriate cases.”

Netizens weigh in on terms such as “profiling” and even the internal immigration protocol of 29-A code of “doubtful entry,” meaning without giving any reason for deportation.

According to others who have been through the same ordeal, Immigration Officers often seek “proof of strong ties to the Philippines,” meaning evidences that you will return to the country after your travel. Officers would sometimes look if you have a stable job, if you have financial capacity to travel, bank statement/credit card, roundtrip airline tickets even hotel vouchers. If a traveler who intends to tour with someone from Hong Kong, it would also be best if you prepare a sponsor letter stamped by the embassy. Several netizens even suggested to wear your best and act modestly so that you will not be “profiled” or may be raised for “red flag.”


— Sally, The Summit Express


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