The Speaker's Chair

Influx of migrants as BN(O) Act takes effect

3 August 2019
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Tagged: Foreign A list of flights departing from Hong Kong Airport.

HONG KONG — As new legislation takes effect, many Hongkongers are hoping to take advantage of its provisions to seek refuge in Britain.

The British National (Overseas) Act, which passed in April but has only come into force in the last week, allows Hong Kongers with British National (Overseas) passports to trade them in for standard British passports, granting them the right to live and work in the United Kingdom.

The coming into force of the act, popularly known in Hong Kong as "A-Day", comes at a time when the Chinese government is harshly cracking down on pro-democracy protests in the city. Government officials and police have gone so far as to violently block people headed on flights to Heathrow and other European airports from proceeding beyond the check-in; one man heading to see family in Newcastle was severely bruised and was rushed to hospital.

The Speaker's Chair reached out to one young woman who planned to have a counterfeit passport made, afterwards travelling to the UK via a circuitous route going through Thailand and India. Asked what she would do if she was found out as a fake, she stated she would try to claim asylum.

The Embassy of China did not respond to a request for comment.

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