Hong Kong, China to curb birth agents

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government will work with Chinese mainland authorities to hunt agents bringing pregnant mainland women to Hong Kong without an appointment, Director of the city’s Immigration Eric Chan said Friday.

Delivering the department’s year-end review, Chan said 1,900 pregnant mainland women trying to deliver babies in Hong Kong were turned back last year.

He said immigration officers at border checkpoints will intercept pregnant non-local women without appointments and repatriate them.

Meanwhile, the department handled 253 million passengers at immigration checkpoints, up 5.2 percent in 2010. Mainlanders topped the passenger list, with a daily average of 76,389, up 24.1 percent.

The department conducted 11,463 operations against illegal employment, arresting 5,621 illegal workers and 910 employers.

To meet the demand for various services, Chan said the department will recruit 285 staff this year and the next year.

The department also estimated 7.27 million passengers will pass through land, sea and air control points during Chinese Lunar New Year period, 8 percent more than last year.

About 2.43 million passengers, 270,000 daily, will pass through Lo Wu, the busiest control point.

For outbound traffic, the busiest day at Lo Wu will be January 21, with about 179,000 passengers leaving Hong Kong. Inbound traffic will be heavy on January 25, with 195,000 people arriving.

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