Lawmaker Regina Ip suggests asylum seekers be put in Shenzhen detention camp

Former secretary of security and incumbent executive councillor Regina Ip is making headlines yet again, although not fur comparing mink farming to poultry farming this time.

According to the SCMP, Ip said she had made an informal suggestion to various government officials about setting up a detention camp on a Shenzhen island to discourage future asylum and torture claimants from trying to enter Hong Kong.

Talking to local reporters yesterday, the controversial politician said that such a camp would be a “good deterrent” for “illegal immigrants … who make baseless claims”… or in other terms, “fake refugees”. Ip claimed that the officials she had spoken to — whom she didn’t name — generally agreed that the proposed camp would be effective.

According to Ip, the lack of space in Hong Kong means the hypothetical camp would need to be built on one of Shenzhen’s outlying islands, thus requiring help from the central government.

Hong Kong has reportedly accrued a massive backlog of applications on the grounds of asylum and torture, 11,160 of which are as yet unscreened. Resolving just one case takes an average of 2.3 years, and only 27 cases were allegedly confirmed to be legitimate since vetting procedures were established in 2014.

In January, Chief Executive CY Leung said the Hong Kong government could leave the United Nations’ torture convention “if necessary”, in response to questions about the city’s growing number of asylum claimants. 

Leung’s comments were criticised by local NGOs and concern groups, who pointed out that Hong Kong is bound by UNCAT under China, and would still have to comply by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

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