80 in dash to leave Peru

Local | Justin Tong 2 Apr 2020

An SAR resident traveling on a South African passport might not be able to catch a flight arranged by the SAR government to take home 80 Hongkongers stranded in Peru tomorrow.

The Chinese embassy in Peru refused to allow him to leave his lodge and head for Lima because "he is not a Chinese," said Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho.

Tam, a pilot, said he is seeking help from the South African embassy in Peru and its consulate general here. But time is running out as the man is in a remote city an hour away from Cusco, from where about 30 stranded Hongkongers will take a connecting flight arranged by the SAR government to Lima.

Tam said permission is needed to commute in Peru, where the government has declared a state of emergency.

The flight from Lima will be to London, followed by another one back home.

The 80 will have to pay HK$30,000 in addition to the cost of the air ticket from London to Hong Kong. Those stranded in Cusco need to pay an extra HK$6,000 for the trip to Lima.

The SAR's chartered flight comes after appeals from stranded Hongkongers in Peru and Morocco who want to come home amid the virus lockdowns in the two countries.

In Peru, where 1,065 cases have been confirmed along with 30 deaths, including a 64-year-old Hong Kong visitor, the government has extended the shutdown of its airspace and all transportation until April 15.

Morocco, which has 617 cases and 36 deaths, is suspending all international flights as well.

By noon yesterday, the immigration department had received 91 appeals for help from Hongkongers in Peru, and 152 from Morocco. But nine in Peru and 113 in Morocco had already arranged to leave the countries themselves.

Tam said earlier that seven Hongkongers in Peru - who are BNO passport holders - had taken a charter flight to London arranged by the British government.

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