We have heard from many members that persistent rumors are circulating among refugees in Hong Kong, saying “In 2012 all asylum-seekers will be sent to a camp on a secret island!” It is reported that after being imprisoned in The Camp, nobody will be allowed to leave. In The Camp there will be fast-track CAT screening and rapid deportation of failed cases. Since the Immigration Department is efficiently denying asylum to the hundreds of claimants processed so far, it is feared that nobody will succeed. Rumors are circulating that The Camp is being built right now by Immigration to house not only adults, but also families with children – no matter their age. Nobody will be released on Recognizance (Big ID) as these will be cancelled. Which island has been selected isn’t sure. However, it will not be on a big one, like Lantau, but rather on a small one, isolated from the others and not reachable by public ferry – to ensure total isolation of this refugee community.
Many members are genuinely afraid. They have heard this rumor from many sources (none of them official) and they are very concerned this report will become truth as more and more people are discussing it. Vision First heard it already in June and now the unfounded speculation is reaching a new dimension as it spreads through the corridors and stairwells of Chung King Mansion. People are saying The Camp was approved by Legco in June and construction started on a secret island already in July, with expected completion by year end. It is feared that after Christmas there will be a sudden rounding up and arrest of 6,700 asylum-seekers (with their children) who will be banished and isolated on this dreaded island. It is no exaggeration that refugees are already sweating and that is not because of the summer heat!
Please rest assured this is nothing but malicious gossip, probably stemming from incidents in other countries. The rights of asylum-seekers and refugees in Hong Kong are monitored by many activists, lawyers and concerned citizens who would never allow such arbitrary incarceration. Our practical advice is for everyone to resist the drama of speculation, but to inquire directly to trusted sources about important information … and don’t believe the scare-mongers 🙂