Victor Mallet, the First Vice President of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) and Asia news editor for the Financial Times, was barred from entering Hong Kong as tourist yesterday (8 November), following a denial of his working visa renewal last month.
HKJA condemned the Government for denying the entry of Mallet without reasonable ground. We expressed shock and anger over the recent spate of incidents that have seriously undermined freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which will further damage Hong Kong’s reputation and status as an international city.
Under the present immigration policy, British passport holders can enter Hong Kong for a period of up to 180 days without a visa. According to the Financial Times, Mallet was questioned by Hong Kong immigration officials for several hours when he arrived Hong Kong yesterday. He was later barred from entering Hong Kong. Last month, Mallet was given a seven-day visa as a visitor when he returned to Hong Kong from an overseas trip shortly after the refusal of his work visa renewal.
HKJA believes that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are the cornerstones of Hong Kong’s success. The sudden refusal of the work visa renewal of Mallet, now followed by his entry denial, will cause more damages to freedom of the press and freedom of speech. The international community will harbour more doubts about Hong Kong on whether it is still a free and open society, thus seriously harming the city’s international image and status.
HKJA and local and international media organisations staged a petition to the Government last month against Mallet’s visa denial. We demanded an explanation from the Chief Executive. The incident has sparked international concern that the visa denial was related to the talk by Hong Kong National Party convenor Andy Chan Ho-tin held at FCC in August. The Government has so far refused to give any explanation. HKJA reiterated the Government must immediately give an explanation to help allay concerns.
HKJA will continue to work with other media organisations to discuss further actions that could help uphold the city’s freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
9 November 2018