Wong dismisses ‘speculation’ on entry ban for AmCham leaders

Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak has dismissed allegations that the decision to refuse entry to two business officials from the American Chamber of Commerce was linked to the United States’ legislation backing anti-government protesters.

Chairman Robert Grieves and President Tara Joseph were separately on their way to the region to attend the AmCham Macau Ball on Saturday and said that local authorities did not provide a reason for refusing to allow them entry to Macau.

According to a statement they issued, they were told to sign a statement saying that they “voluntarily agreed not to pursue entry to Macau.”

“We hope that this is just an over reaction to current events and that international business can constructively forge ahead,” they noted.

Speaking to Reuters, Joseph said that she was puzzled as to why she was prevented from crossing into the gambling hub for the annual event which is also attended by the U.S. Consul General of Hong Kong and Macau, Hanscom Smith.

“I have no idea. I was quite surprised. They were not rude. There was never any manhandling or rudeness,” she said.

In November, U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law congressional legislation backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, despite heavy objections from Beijing.

Meanwhile, local official Wong said that the barred entry to the SAR was not linked with the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and that such accusations are just speculation.

Although he did not further clarify why the two officials were barred from entering Macau, Wong defended the SAR’s rights to implement immigration policy.

“Police have the responsibility to ensure Macau’s safety, and the same principle applies to port control. […] When [police immigration officers] carry out duties according to laws, the identities and occupations of the persons entering Macau are not their consideration. Safety risks and threats are the only considerations,” he said, as cited in reports.

Wong will remain in his post as Secretary for Security during the next government term, under Chief Executive-elect Ho Iat Seng. LV

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