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Harsher sentences for illegal work

Sep 24th, 2015 | Crime, Government, Immigration | Comment

Harsher sentences for working illegally

Police break up Vietnamese human-smuggling ring

Sep 10th, 2015 | Crime, Immigration, Media | Comment

SCMP - Police break up Vietnamese smuggling ring

HK to take measures to curb repatriation claim abuse

Sep 9th, 2015 | Crime, Immigration, Media | Comment

Global Post - HK to take measures to curb repatriation claim abuse

Who allows wolves in sheep’s clothing to hide among refugees?

Sep 7th, 2015 | Crime, Immigration, Personal Experiences, Refugee Community, Welfare | Comment

Hello, I am Outsider reporting again on the experiences of refugees in Hong Kong.

Recently there have been many news reports about criminals who lodge Unified Screening Mechanism (USM) claims with the Immigration Department, but might not have legitimate grounds for protection. This is an issue which deserves to be discussed. It raises the question: Who allows wolves in sheep’s clothing to hide among refugees?

Immigration officials recently informed journalists that several hundred USM claimants broke the law: since the beginning of the year 113 claimants were arrested for working illegally and 515 were involved in other crimes, amounting to about 6% of 10,000 outstanding claimants.

Conveniently no explanation was provide about the different backgrounds of the so-called criminals with asylum claims who were arrested. At a risk of oversimplification, I believe there are three major groups: 1) destitute USM claimants who perform legal work without permission; 2) impoverished migrants and troubled traders who cannot renew/obtain visas; c) gangsters abusing asylum to avoid removal and engage in criminal activity.

For the first group, government press releases and news reports are biased and unbalanced as they failed to make relevant distinctions. It is suggested that many USM claimants are criminals and troublemakers, yet the unfair reporting lacks context. For instance, we refugees rent subdivided rooms costing $2500-3500 (the cheapest are windowless 2x4m cubicle with shared facilities), but receive just $1500 in rent assistance since February 2014.

For subsistence reasons, including keeping a roof over our heads, many refugees are obliged to work. Any refugee stuck in Hong Kong more than six months, has probably worked here and there. Of course few dare to admit it. We simply have no choice. The government is mocking readers by calling us ‘criminals’, which brings to mind dishonest individuals breaking the law for easy money.

The reality is refugees do hard work in construction and recycling for 10-12 hours a day in very dangerous conditions for a rip-off $200-300 without insurance or medical cover. That is neither desired nor easy money. We must work to pay for ours and our family’s daily needs, in particular for our children. Don’t let the government fool you, it is the failed asylum policy that forces refugees to work without permission.

For the second group, there are several nationalities who enter Hong Kong with visitor or work visas which eventually expire. Previously they would leave and return with another visa which was problematic, expensive and time consuming. After discovering that USM allows them to remain for years with some assistance, they stop leaving and returning. They are not to blame. They probably suffer unbearable poverty without social services in their country and, after discovering a benefit, naturally seize the opportunity.

For the third group, there are hardened gangsters who resist deportation by lodging USM claims to avoid removal/detention and persist in their criminal ways. A few characters frankly explained to me that this was the only exploit to remain in Hong Kong. These abusers are thumbing their noses at a system that allows them to stay unchallenged for years. Their pockets lined with the real easy money, they entice dispossessed refugees to join their gangs.

Entering Hong Kong just to be an asylum seeker is not attractive. In fact, asylum seekers face years of intolerable hardship. Instead abusers and criminals are attracted by a failed asylum system that remains open to and indeed welcomes exploitation. These individuals find an open and unguarded environment in which they can achieve goals not related to asylum.

It appears that the government is deceptively singling out a minority 6% of arrested refugees to criminalize and degrade the law-abiding majority. A careful review of recent news reports suggest that the Government is blaming everyone – refugees, smugglers, lawyers and interpreters – without considering its responsibility towards a policy that fails refugees. The USM appears not to benefit society (tax-burden and security risk), while it allows the government to maintain an established policy of not granting asylum.

Dear readers, if the USM processed asylum claims credibly and fairly within 6 months rather than the claimed average of 2-3 years (more like 5-10), would it be approved by refugees? Would it benefit society? Would it limit the cost and social risk? Would it continue to harbour wolves in sheep’s clothing?

Who allows wolves in sheep’s clothing

TVB – People seeking refuge in Hong Kong have rights

Aug 25th, 2015 | Crime, Immigration, Media, Rejection | Comment

TVB - People seeking refuge have rights - 25Aug2015

 

港免遣返聲請累積逾萬宗 或遭偷渡者濫用

Aug 25th, 2015 | Crime, Immigration, Media, Rejection | Comment

TVB Jade - Report on refugee arrests - 25Aug2015

Refugees are turning to crime because of Hong Kong’s botched asylum system

Aug 25th, 2015 | Crime, Immigration, Rejection, VF Opinion, Welfare | Comment

HKFP - Refugees are turning to crime

Smuggling fears amid asylum surge

Aug 25th, 2015 | Crime, Immigration, Media, Rejection | Comment

The Standard - Smuggling fears amid asylum surge

免遣返聲請升2.5倍 積壓宗數過萬

Aug 25th, 2015 | Crime, Immigration, Media, Rejection | Comment

OnTV - Report on refugee arrests - 25Aug2015

Immigration might repatriate refugees abusing asylum

Aug 24th, 2015 | Crime, Immigration, Media | Comment

Immigration might repatriate refugees abusing asylum

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