My name is Rashid and I am Pakistani refugee in Hong Kong since early 2009. After five years of waiting Immigration still hasn’t started interviewing me, what they are waiting for I don’t know. I want to share with you the real and true feeling of what happened to me in Hong Kong.
In my country I ran my own medicine company and worked with surgeons in hospital operating theaters. After my problems started and my government failed to protect me, I had no choice but to flee Pakistan and I took refuge in Hong Kong where I have been waiting for my future.
I was held for 36 hours in police custody, then sent to Immigration detention at CIC Tuen Mun, from where I was released a week later with recognizance paper. The day I was bailed out they took my signature on a document and warned me that asylum seekers cannot do any kind of work or whatever job, even part-time for two or three hours. I signed in agreement.
After release I still had some money in my pocket which I spent to take a room in Yuen Long for 1000$ a month. Actually the room should not be called a room for humans. I think also a middle class dog in Hong Kong has a nicer place to sleep. But it is OK because dog luck and my luck are not same!
I bought some Halal food and ate. After one day rest in my room I learnt about the Social Welfare Department for refugee assistance and went there to register. They told me as soon as we call, you come, but even one and two months later they don’t call me. My money was finished in one week, but I could not do any work or job. I met some kind people who helped me for a while.
I had to borrow money which I could not repay. My friends’ help also finished, because two months passed already and I never received any call from SWD. I paid home rent, two months deposit, my food, water, clothes, my everything I needed. Shortly everything was finished and I felt very desperate how to live. Then I lost my room because I didn’t have money and slept in the Yuen Long Park like a dog.
I remember my business in Pakistan, my doctor friends and the good life I had before trouble take everything away from my life. I am not a beggar. I am not a poor man before, but refugee in Hong Kong must be poor and must be beggar because cannot work to earn little money.
Two months after I came to Hong Kong I experience being poor and beggar. I had Immigration Paper but I no had any protection, any assistance, any money even to buy water. For the first time I felt shame about sleeping in park and drinking water from the public toilet with my hands, because in toilet nobody put glass for beggar to drink. This is great shame as Muslim is not allowed to drink or eat anything relate to toilet! I always pray to the Mercy of God forgive me about those days.
My Dear Reader, you think how many refugees no have food for many days, no have water to drink, no have home for sleep, no washing powder for clothes, no brush to clean teeth! Some people say we have better life here than our country!
Even after three months already I was homeless, hungry, no shave, dirty clothes, if you see me you think “This is terrorist people!” But I am not bad person, I am an Immigration Recognizance holder for the last six years and still I am suffering in your city. I have pain in my heart. And this pain I will keep it forever in my heart even if I have to leave Hong Kong. Better I got to 15th floor and jump down and finish this pain in my heart because Hong Kong is very pitiless to refugees and make us like beggar.
Now I appeal to all human rights persons, to respectful people, to Refugee Union to save our future and life in Hong Kong. Stop the unlawful detention! Stop the mental torture of refugees! Stop refusing 100% of asylum case! Not one Pakistani asylum seeker win Torture Claim since 1992 when the refugee system start! How is possible that 100% Pakistani asylum case is not true?
The law system force refugees to do crime. How they can survive without assistance and without job? But when mentally tortured and physically abandoned, then bad comes our way and attract us every day. Because, by my Good and Merciful God, I tell you that good people become bad people under this situation. Hong Kong is a beautiful city on this planet, but it is dark and ugly for refugees.
My Dear Reader, please think of the young men and women who take refuge in your great city. You think, if nothing they have, no protection, no future, not enough assistance, no work. What will they do? Their many years waiting amount to zero. So what will they do? What is worse? To do suicide? To do crime? Or to do work? But even to do work is to do crime in this great city.
For almost three months I am homeless before the Refugee Union help me. I think of the law. I think of the system. I read the Immigration Ordinance Cap 115 that force me into a walking prison. I am homeless. I have no food, no money, no work. If I do job, the police catch me and put me three years in prison.
However, if I sell the illegal DRUGS it is so easy to make 1000$ tonight. If police catch me I can easy bail out from police station. But if refugee WORK, then even court bail can never get! My Good and Merciful God, how will I buy food today? How will I pay for shelter tonight?
If I sell DRUGS it is easy money. Even if go jail, in small drugs case only get 4 months sentence. But if refugee WORK, it is big crime in Hong Kong, the court will give you 18 months jail and then go back to Immigration detention for 3 months. Is this a fair and justice system?
So my Respectful Reader, which normal people choose 18 months jail better than 4 months jail? In the same situation like refugee, I think everybody will choose to do the crime with the more money and the less jail. Also the good person become bad person because the Chinese gangster come every day to knock on our door to make us be part of their gang system, or they threaten and beat us.
Refugee need legal work to protect their life in Hong Kong. The system doesn’t allow employment so the unlawful work can make people do crime. Even doctors say that people, especially young people, need exercise and activity. Work can be free work, like NGO work, but years and years of doing nothing can open the door to do crime.
Please tell me the law, the system does not want me to be suicide, or do illegal work, or sell and use drugs.