On Sunday night, immigration authorities in Hong Kong confirmed that holders of the country’s passports are permitted to have only one version at any one time following the recent detainment of a Huawei Technologies executive who was found with three travel documents from the city.
Huawei executive, Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, was detained in Vancouver after court documents revealed that she had at least seven passports including three from Hong Kong and four from mainland China.
Responding to the news, a spokesman for Hong Kong’s Immigration Department said holders of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passports are only allowed to have a valid one at a time, though made it clear it was not commenting on individual cases.
How It Works
In certain situations, holders could apply to have an old invalid/damaged/expired passport combined with a new one as if the old still has a valid visa in it, but the old passport itself remains invalid according to the Department of Immigration. This is called cross-linking of HKSAR passports.
HKSAR passports cross-linking means having an endorsement on both previous and new passports such that the old passport bears a visa but the previous passport shall be cancelled according to the department’s spokesman. Therefore, any passport holder shall not have more than a valid HKSAR passport at a time.
Legal experts have since called on the department to investigate how Meng was able to obtain multiple Hong Kong passports.
Meng who is the CFO of Huawei as well as the daughter of the founder of the telecom giant was arrested on December 1 and could be repatriated to the US for an alleged link to a firm that attempted selling equipment to Iran. A letter from the US to Canada revealed that she had been issued at least seven different passports in the past 11 years.
Two former heads of Hong Kong’s immigration department have since moved to play down any fear about loopholes in the city’s immigration system. One of them, Lai Tung-Kwok, said a person with multiple SAR passports is not a new thing but the most the most important thing is that such person possesses only a valid one at a particular time.
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