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法政匯思就馬凱被拒入境之聲明

2018/11/13 — 11:41

【Statement of the Progressive Lawyers Group on the Refusal of Victor Mallet's Entry】(Scroll for English) 

1. 法政匯思就馬凱最近被拒入境香港的事件 (「該事件」) 深表關注。當上月馬凱的工作簽證續期申請被入境處拒批後,馬凱被准以訪客身份留港七天。而今次入境處在沒有給予任何理由下拒絕馬凱以訪客身份入境。當香港政府一方面不斷聲稱維護新聞自由,該事件卻等同承認香港政府已經把《金融時報》的著名編輯列入黑名單。

2. 香港法院已很清楚地說明每個拒絕入境的情況均須有正當理由(見Chu Woan Chyi v Director of Immigration 一案 (CACV 119/2007 第16段))。馬凱的工作簽證被拒和香港政府的沈默已經惹起國際社會的廣泛關注。英國、歐盟、美國、加拿大及澳洲已經清楚表明其憂慮。 

3. 我們留意到,政務司司長於 2018 年 10 月 8 日聲稱,國際慣例是不會向任何人、包括申請人本身、公布不批准工作簽證的原因。此說法並不正確。英國駐港總領事於2018 年 10 月 15 日表明,如果有人被拒絕進入英國、或者其簽證申請被拒絕,該人士會被通知背後原因,以便該人士考慮是否提出上訴。除此之外,根據歐洲聯盟委員會移民及內政事務總處,如果有人的神根地區短期簽證申請被拒絕,申請人會通過一份標準表格被告知其申請已被拒絕,而且拒絕該申請的通知必須表明被拒絕的原因。值得一提的是,法政匯思並未察覺香港有任何法律原則禁止港府向簽證申請人交代拒絕的原因。法庭案例亦顯示港府曾向簽證被拒的申請人解釋原因。

4. 在法政匯思於2018年10月8日就馬凱的工作簽證申請被拒的聲明中,我們提及到新聞自由為支撐香港經濟成就的重中之重。香港美國商會近日發出的聲明亦認同此看法。該商會主席明言:「拒絕 [金融時報] 記者馬凱的工作簽證續領申請之舉帶出一個令人憂慮的訊號。沒有新聞自由,資本市場將無法正常運作,商業和交易活動亦不能可靠地營運。」上述講法亦正正是一個明確例子,標誌著商界對於香港未來的信心已因為馬凱一事而深受影響。 

5. 我們在此敦促香港政府馬上解釋把馬凱排拒於境外的決定。我們認為,此舉可以消除任何本地與國際社會上認為香港政府對媒體進行審查的憂慮。

6. 法政匯思同時留意到馬凱經已就其工作簽證續領被拒一事提出上訴。 我們亦促請行政長官會同行政會議立即重新審視該決定。再進一步的拖延將必然加劇對於政府的行動是否真誠無欺的質疑。

2018 年 11 月 13 日
法政匯思

(PDF 版:https://goo.gl/4KnZ3N

1. The Progressive Lawyers Group (the "PLG") is deeply concerned about the recent refusal of Victor Mallet's entry into Hong Kong (the "Refusal"). After the denial of his application to renew his work visa last month by the Immigration Department, Mallet was allowed to stay in Hong Kong as a tourist for 7 days. This time Mallet was denied entry as a tourist without any reasons given. The Refusal in effect suggests that the prominent editor of Financial Times is blacklisted by the Hong Kong Government, despite that it has repeatedly claimed that it stands by press freedom. 

2. Hong Kong Courts have made clear that there must be a legitimate reason in every denial of entry: see Chu Woan Chyi v Director of Immigration (CACV 119/2007, para 16). The silence of the Hong Kong Government on the reason for denying Mallet's work visa has already raised widespread concerns amongst the international community. The UK, the EU, the US, Canada and Australia have expressly alluded to their worries.

3. It was suggested by the Chief Secretary of the Hong Kong Government on 8 October 2018 that it is international practice that Governments do not give reasons for the refusal of work visa applications; not even to the individual himself. This is incorrect. The British Consul-General Hong Kong stressed on 15 October 2018 that if an individual is denied entry to the UK or a visa application is refused, the individual would be notified of the reasons behind the denial so they can consider whether they have grounds for appeal. Furthermore, according to the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission, the decision to refuse a Schengen short stay visa is notified to the applicant using a standard form. The decision to refuse the visa must also include the reasons on which the refusal was based. Indeed, the PLG is also not aware of any Hong Kong legal principles that would prevent the Government from disclosing the reasons of refusal to the individual himself. Court authorities show the Hong Kong Government did reveal reasons of refusal to visa applicants.

4. In the PLG's earlier statement on denying Mallet's work visa dated 8 October 2018, we said, amongst others, that a free press is vital to Hong Kong in bolstering its economic success. Such view has been shared recently, for example, by the statement of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. Their President remarked forcefully as follows: "The rejection of a renewal of work visa for [Financial Times] correspondent Victor Mallet sends a worrying signal. Without a free press, capital markets cannot properly function, and business and trade cannot be reliably conducted". This is a clear example that the Refusal by the Hong Kong Government has a marked adverse impact on the confidence of the business community in the future of Hong Kong. 

5. We urge the Hong Kong Government to provide reasons for the decision to exclude Mallet from the city without delay. This would address local and international concerns that the Refusal is evidence of the Hong Kong Government censoring the media. 

6. We also note that Mallet has lodged an appeal against the denial of his work visa renewal. We further urge the Chief Executive in Council to review the decision promptly. Any further delay would inevitably lead to intensifying doubt whether the Hong Kong Government has been acting in good faith. 

13 November 2018
Progressive Lawyers Group

(PDF version: https://goo.gl/4KnZ3N)

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