Online reports clarified

August 12, 2020

The Immigration Department today clarified that online media reports alleging that detainees who refused to collect meals at Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre were treated inhumanely are completely untrue.


The recent reports published through online media alleged the department indefinitely detained non-refoulement claimants, inhumanely treated the detainees who refused to collects meals and refused to provide them with suitable medical treatment.


They also mentioned complaints against unsatisfactory hygiene conditions in the immigration centre.


The department said these allegations are unfounded and stressed that all arrangements for detainees are made in accordance with the Immigration (Treatment of Detainees) Order (Cap 115E) to ensure they are treated fairly and properly.


Detainees at the immigration centre are accorded the treatment provided by the order, such as medical examinations, exercise, personal hygiene, channels for lodging complaints, visits by justices of the peace and communication with legal advisers, etc.


Any detainee who is dissatisfied with their treatment can lodge a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman, justices of the peace or the department.


The medical officer in the immigration centre has all along provided appropriate medical treatment to detainees, the department said.


Since the incident in which some detainees refused to collect meals, the department’s staff have been closely monitoring the detainees’ health.


Medical professionals on duty around the clock have conducted medical examinations for them.


So far, detainees’ blood glucose levels are normal and they are emotionally stable. Most of the detainees concerned are taking milk tea and milk provided by the immigration centre and are exercising.


Meanwhile, immigration staff have repeatedly persuaded them to resume collecting meals and have provided counselling services to them.


Meetings have also been held with those who refused to collect meals to fully explain to them the reasons for their detention and provide information on the latest progress of their cases.


As for the news report that alleged that a detainee was not drinking any water for seven days or was detained alone, the department pointed out that these allegations are inaccurate.


When exercising its statutory power of detention, the department strictly follows relevant detention policies and fully considers all the circumstances of the particular case before making a decision.


The media reports in question were void of sufficient justifications and failed to take into account the overall background of the cases, including the fact that each of the detainees is either an illegal immigrant or an overstayer in Hong Kong.


Many of them also have a history of absconding or convictions of serious criminal offences, namely trafficking in dangerous drugs, wounding, blackmailing, committing indecent offences and so on.


Regarding the allegation of unsatisfactory hygiene conditions in the immigration centre, the department emphasised that all detention facilities of the centre are cleaned and disinfected regularly every day.


The centre has also strengthened the cleaning and disinfection work to maintain a hygienic environment during the COVID-19 epidemic.


The department reiterated that it has been performing duties in accordance with the law and any malpractice would not be tolerated.


It strongly condemned anybody making one-sided and unfounded allegations against the department without concrete facts, with intent to interfere with the discharge of its duties and coerce it into releasing the people concerned.


The department will continue to strive to fulfil its duties in upholding the public interest and safeguard social security.

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