Mainland boy's residence permit sparks heated debate

Mainland boy's residence permit sparks heated debate

A 12-year-old boy from the mainland who had lived in Hong Kong illegally for nine years has prompted heated debate

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12-year-old boy Siu Yau-wai (centre in black) and his grandmother Chow Siu-shuen (L).
12-year-old boy Siu Yau-wai (centre in black) and his grandmother Chow Siu-shuen (L).
Photo: David Wong/SCMP

A 12-year-old boy from the mainland who had been illegally staying in Hong Kong for nine years was given temporary papers on Thursday to continue to stay in the city.

The boy, Siu Yau-wai, was abandoned by his parents in Shenzhen and was illegally brought into Hong Kong by his grandmother in 2006, when he was three years old. His grandmother, 67, was arrested for helping her grandson breach conditions of stay.

There were protests against the decision to grant Yau-wai a permit to stay in Hong Kong. A crowd of 40 people shouted "return to the mainland" at Confucian Tai Shing Primary School, whose principal had voiced interest in offering the boy a place at the school if authorities allow it.

"If you let him stay, next thing we know, mainland parents will be abandoning their children in Hong Kong for a few years so they can get identification [papers]," said Jon Ho of Localism Power, a group that supports the protection of Hongkongers' rights.

A 16-year-old international school student also agrees with the protesters. "Allowing this one kid to stay would put us on the slippery slope where increasing numbers of mainland parents would be 'abandoning' their kids at the border to enjoy education and residency in Hong Kong."

However, Veronica Lin, 15, of Shenzhen College of International Education thinks letting the boy stay and grow up in Hong Kong is the right thing to do: "Uprooting a child from his home of more than nine years might not be the most sensible solution."

The Hong Kong Indigenous group planned to march from Causeway Bay to the Immigration Department offices in Wan Chai at 2:30pm yesterday. About 30 protesters showed up, but the march was cancelled due to police presence.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Residence permit divides opinions

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