British journalist rejected re-entry to HK

Local | 9 Nov 2018 10:47 am

The Financial Times says its Asia editor, Victor Mallet, was refused entry to Hong Kong yesterday as a visitor, just weeks after the government had refused to renew his work visa without explanation.

Last August, Mallet had hosted a talk at the Foreign Correspondents' Club by Chan Ho-tin, the founder of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, after the government had moved to ban the party with a law typically used to suppress triads, RTHK reports.

In an article under the caption "Press Freedom,'' the Financial Times said Mallet was turned away at the border after several hours of questioning by immigration officers. Mallet had hosted the talk at the FCC as acting president and the Hong Kong National Party has now been banned.

Ahead of August's talk, the FCC had been warned by senior Beijing officials based here not to go ahead with the talk and former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying hinted that the club may want to move from its premises on Lower Albert Road, as it was getting a generous lease deal from the government.

The FT also said it had not received an explanation for the rejection of the work visa and it has appealed against the decision.

Although the move to blacklist Mallet is being enforced by the government, it puts the Chief Executive Carrie Lam in an awkward position. On her recent trip to Japan, the press grilled Lam over Mallet's work visa refusal. She replied overseas media had been using Hong Kong as a base and that was a good indication of the freedom of reporting in Hong Kong.

Separately, the FCC yesterday sent a letter to Lam from former presidents of the FCC. It said they were gravely concerned about the denial of a work visa for Mallet, and this has implications for Hong Kong's role as an open, global city where the press - including the foreign media - can continue to operate freely.

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