No silver lining: Asylum seeker jailed in Hong Kong for collecting scrap metal to make ends meet

An asylum seeker from Bangladesh was jailed in Hong Kong last week for collecting scrap metal without a work permit. 

The 30-year-old received a 15-month jail sentence at Shatin Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (Sept. 29) after he was found collecting discarded metal at a construction site in Tin Shui Wai. 

Under caution, the man admitted that he planned to sell the metal, therefore breaking the rules of his recognisance status, which prevents him from taking employment or establishing or joining a business in Hong Kong. 

Further investigation by the Immigration Department revealed the man to be a non-refoulement claimant, whereby a refugee or asylum seeker asks not to be returned to their country of origin lest they be subjected to persecution. No chance of that in Hong Kong, of course.

The Bangladeshi man, who originally landed illegally in Hong Kong, pleaded guilty to establishing business while being a person who remains in Hong Kong without the authority of the Director of Immigration. 

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