MAINLAND RIGHT OF ABODE CLAIMANTS SYSTEMATICALLY ABUSED

Summary of Survey of Detained Right of Abode Claimants


The Survey:

179 right of abode claimants said to have been detained.

90 right of abode claimants returned the questionnaire.

Of the 90: 27 were detained at Victoria Prison; 41 at Ma Tau Wai Detention Centre; 4 at Western Police Station; 6 at North Point Police Station, 1 at Ho Man Tin Police Station and 11 at Immigration Task Force at Central Government Pier/Waterfront Police Station. ("Immigration Task Force")

Strip Searches:

82 out of 90 detainees (91%) state they were strip searched. Those who do not report being strip searched are 3 persons in Victoria Prison, all 4 persons in Western Police Station and 1 person at Immigration Task Force.

In all but 4 cases, no reasons were given for the strip searches. In the 4 cases where "reasons" were given, they were to the effect that the officers were required to conduct the strip search.

Of the 10 detainees strip-searched at Immigration Task Force, 2 were strip searched 3 times and 2 were strip searched twice.

One detainee in Ma Tau Wei was made to squat up and down while stripped.

Another detainee in Ma Tau Wei was not exempt from the strip search even though she reported having a cold.

Threats and Intimidation

Ma Tau Wei

23 of the 41 detainees at Ma Tau Wei have provided details of pressure they were placed under to sign a form "volunteering" to return to the Mainland immediately. Tactics used included:

(1) Numerous detainees were woken up between midnight and 3 a.m. on 31/3/99 and told to sign the form.

(2) Numerous detainees were told that unless they signed the form they would be "blacklisted" and not permitted to return to Hong Kong to claim right of abode or that their personal details would be given to Mainland authorities who would punish them on their return.

(3) Several detainees were threatened with terms of imprisonment of 2 or 3 years if they refused to sign the form, and some were threatened with fines.

North Point Police Station

Two detainees report not being permitted to see their parents.

One detainee reports being refused permission to use the toilet 3 times.

Another states he was threatened with imprisonment if he refused to sign the form.

Victoria Prison

One detainee only reports being pressured to sign the form "volunteering" to return to the Mainland.

Ho Man Tin Police Station

The woman detained at Ho Man Tin Police Station (reportedly with 5 others) reports officers treating one other detainee roughly.

Western Police Station

No detainees reports being actually pressured to sign the forms.

Immigration Task Force

Those detained here do not report express threats, although one reports that they were shouted at and many report verbal abuse and insults.

Verbal Abuse/ Insults

Eight detainees at Victoria Prison report being verbally abused.

Twenty-three persons detained at Ma Tau Wei report verbal abuse including: being called pigs or gorillas, made to eat with their hands, told they have no backbone, being sworn at, told they are a burden on Hong Kong.

Two detainees at North Point Police Station report verbal abuse.

The woman detained at Ho Man Tin Police Station reports being verbally abused.

Seven of the detainees at Immigration Task Force report being verbally abused.

None of the detainees at Western Police Station report being verbally abused.

Handcuffs

No-one detained at Ma Tau Wei was handcuffed.

Everyone at Victoria Prison, with the exception of 1 person, reports being handcuffed.

Five of the 6 detainees at North Point Police Station report being handcuffed.

The detainees at Ho Man Tin Police Station, Western Police Station, Immigration Task Force and Ma Tau Wei do not report being handcuffed.

Other

One detainee at Ma Tau Wei reports being denied sanitary napkins.

Denial of Telephone Use

One detainee at North Point Police Station reports being denied access to a telephone until 1.30 a.m. on 31/3/99.

Five detainees at Ma Tau Wei report being denied access to a telephone or not being permitted to use the telephone until the afternoon of 31/3/99 soon prior to release.

Twelve detainees at Victoria Prison report being denied access to a telephone.

No-one at Western Police Station, Immigration Task Force or Ho Man Tin Police Station reports being denied access to a telephone.

Extracts of Questionnaires: Individual Comments

Detainee A (detained at Ma Tau Wei): "They asked me whether I would go to the Mainland. If I did not go, they would send my details to the Mainland and I would be imprisoned. When we went on hunger strike, they scolded us and said that we were pigs."

Detainee B (detained at Ma Tau Wei): "The manager of the Immigration Department asked me to go back. He said if I was not willing to return, the Department would sue us. My details would be sent to the Public Security Bureau in the Mainland and when I was sent back in the future, I would be punished. The officers at the detention centre mocked me and said that I was a gorilla. When I had meals, they didn't give me any utensils and asked me to eat with my hands. A male officer scolded me with foul language.

Detainee C (detained at Ma Tau Wei): "After taking off all my clothes, I was even asked to squat down and stand up three times for 3 female officers to see. I was made to meet the officers 3 times. Each time they asked me to sign the voluntary repatriation statement and lied to me that I have to sign to have the right to appeal. They always shouted at us. There were no daily necessities such as tooth brushes, towels and toilet paper for us to use. The officers at the detention centre were rude. They scolded us saying that we were wasting the Government's money, the money of the tax-payers. The officers asked us to sign by every possible means. They threatened that it we did not go back now we would be sent to the Public Security Bureau in the Mainland and would be black-listed. If we were black-listed, this would influence whether we could come to Hong Kong in the future."

Detainee D (Ho Man Tin Police Station): "When I was searched for the second time at the Immigration Task Force [before being transferred to Ho Man Tin Police Station] there was another girl who had a packet of candy in her pocket. The officer violently pulled some pieces of her clothes and some part of her body was exposed. (There were men present.) I asked the officer to be polite but she scolded me: "There is no need to be polite towards to such people"."

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1999 (c) Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor