According to The Epoch Times, the Hong Kong Legislative Council held a meeting on May 3 to discuss the application of the Advance Notification of Passenger Information system. The system is scheduled to operate in the third quarter of 2024.
The new forecast system requires airlines to submit the personal data of passengers and crew to the Hong Kong Immigration Department at least 40 minutes before the flight departs. The required information includes name, date of birth, gender, nationality, and all information of the issuing country or agency of the valid travel document.
According to the documents, those operators failing to provide complete and accurate information in time or letting passengers board a plane without an “authorized boarding” order would receive punishments. They could be fined about 12,700 dollars.
The forecast system is expected to cost about 9.14 million dollars annually after it is put into operation.
According to Sonny Au Chi-Kwong, deputy secretary of the Hong Kong Security Bureau, the forecast will assess risk and deter people involved in threatening “national security,” who are “unfavorable to Hong Kong,” and
potential non-refoulement applicants. However, Sonny did not detail what is considered “unfavorable to Hong Kong.”
The newly released system has stirred social controversy.
Some intellectuals supposed that Hong Kong’s action is excessive and designed to gain personal information.
According to Zhong Jianhua, the deputy chief executive of Hong Kong Minyan Research Institute in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong’s current move shows the government’s aim to obtain excessive personal information.
He further doubted that the Hong Kong government would extend the forecasting mechanism to Hong Kong outbound passengers in the future.
Yang Yingyu, former manager of the Assessment Development Department of the History Division of the Hong Kong Examination and Assessment Authority, shared his thoughts with the Epoch Times.
According to Yang, the policy’s main point is that the Hong Kong government intends to employ an “intermediary” to set up and manage the relevant network.
He questioned whether relevant data would be reported to Beijing’s law enforcement agencies in real-time through the “intermediary.” As a result, Hong Kong residents’ data will turn into shared data.
Wang Anran, a senior current affairs commentator in Hong Kong, supposed that the system is aimed at Beijing’s senior officials or their children who travel abroad via Hong Kong.
The system gives the authorities the right to gain the officials and their children’s information before questioning why they leave China.
Previously, the Hong Kong government has declined several activists, intellectuals, and political figures outside China to enter Hong Kong, including Taiwanese scholar Wu Ruiren, former Supreme Court justice of the Philippines, and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
According to Sonny, the Hong Kong government has prevented nearly 10,000 people from entering Hong Kong from 2019 to 2021.