Barring Mallet not a press freedom issue: John Lee - RTHK
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Barring Mallet not a press freedom issue: John Lee

2018-11-09 HKT 11:43
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  • Barring Mallet not a press freedom issue: John Lee
The Secretary for Security, John Lee, said on Friday that the government would not be providing an explanation for the decision to bar Financial Times editor Victor Mallet from entering Hong Kong, even as a tourist.

But while he wouldn't say why Mallet was turned away at the airport on Thursday night, Lee said people would be wrong to make any link between the move and the SAR's freedoms.

"This case has nothing to do with freedom of expression or freedom of the press. The government has said many times that in considering any application for entry, we will be acting in accordance with the law and the prevailing immigration policy to make a decision," Lee said.

"This is no different from the immigration authorities of other governments. We will not disclose the details of an individual case in public."

DAB lawmaker Gary Chan said the government had done the right thing by refusing to allow Mallet into the territory. Chan said the journalist's reason for returning as a visitor was solely to try to prolong the controversy over his earlier expulsion.

"I hardly believe that he came to Hong Kong as an ordinary visitor. He is likely to do something harmful to one country, two systems," Chan said.

Pan-democratic lawmakers strongly condemned the decision not to let the Briton into the city, with the camp's convenor Claudia Mo demanding an explanation and an apology from Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

"Such happenings are going to scare off, not just any regular members of the international community, but in particular our foreign investors," Mo said.

The Civic Party's Dennis Kwok said the "absurd" move flies in the face of everything the government does to promote Hong Kong as an international city.

The authorities had refused to renew Mallet's work visa not longer after he presided over a talk at the Foreign Correspondents' Club over the summer by independence advocate Chan Ho-tin.

In early October, Mallet was allowed into Hong Kong for seven days following a trip abroad, giving him time to arrange his affairs before he had to leave the city once again.

Lee also told reporters that the authorities are still processing an appeal by the Financial Times over the rejection of Mallet's work visa application.