Twin wins deportation reprieve
HONG KONG, China -- In a rare act of leniency, Chinese authorities have advised that identical twins who were to be separated can stay in Hong Kong.
The move comes as Hong Kong deports thousands of Chinese migrants back to the mainland.
About 4,300 mainland migrants are believed to still be in Hong Kong, defying orders that they go home after losing their court appeals to remain in the affluent former British colony.
"I'm so happy -- I just can't describe it," said Lin Yeung-ming, 18, who had been dreading the day that authorities might come to take her away from her parents and twin sister, Lin Yok-oi.
Yeung-Ming was forced to stay behind in southern China when in 1996 Chinese authorities allowed her mother to join her father in Hong Kong, but decreed she could only take one of the twins with her.
Unable to choose, the twins' father made them play the game of "paper-scissors-rock" to settle their fate. Yeung-ming lost the game to twin Yuk-oi, five minutes her elder.
But Hong Kong Immigration Department officials delighted the family Monday by telephoning to say the mainland Chinese government had granted Yeung-ming the one-way visa which is required for any Chinese who wants to legally leave the mainland.
The move means Hong Kong can let the teen stay.
The thousands of migrants fighting to stay in the country say they should be allowed to stay with parents who moved to Hong Kong to find work and later become residents.
Many of the migrants' children came later, but some were denied resident status.
Although the deportations are splitting up families, few can expect to stay on humanitarian grounds, said Security Secretary Regina Ip.
Ip earlier said authorities plan to remove 2,000 of the remaining illegal migrants in coming weeks, and that police have stepped up the hunt and will raid homes if necessary.
Two other migrants were forcibly sent home early Monday, activists said.
Immigration Department spokesman Alvin Tam said about 50 people have been returned to China since the March 31 deadline for them to leave Hong Kong.
Bell tolls for right of abode seekers
March 30, 2002
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