Below are the sources for data and quotations referenced in an opinion piece published by the project team on the South China Morning Post on 16 May, 2021.
- The Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020 was passed on 28 April, 2021 with minimal opposition in the Legislative Council (LegCo).
- The concept of so-called fake refugees suggests that many asylum seekers in Hong Kong submit “fake” claims to prolong their stay in Hong Kong. The low approval rate of asylum claims – only around 1 per cent – has been used as evidence of a large proportion of fake refugees.
- In comparison, the overall approval rate of asylum claims across 2014 and 2019 in the UK was 50.6%.
- Considering that the Security Bureau stated that a drop in non-refoulement claims and other results of stringent asylum policies are “positive results”, the efforts to limit access to asylum are unquestionably deliberate.
- In the past three years, the time needed for processing claims has ranged between two weeks and several years.
- During recent debates, LegCo members claimed that non-refoulement claimants on recognisance were committing crimes en masse. As one Legco member suggested, apparently “nowadays people are afraid, they dare not go out at night because of law and order concerns”. In the last meeting to pass the bill, some Legco members notably used the number of arrests – but not convictions – of recognisance holders to support their portrayal of “refugee crime”.
- First, although the Security Bureau has stated that most recognizance holders are non-refoulement claimants, not all are.
- Third, data from the Hong Kong Police Force and Security Bureau indicate that between 2013 and 2019, recognizance holders made up between 1.66 percent and 5.08 percent of total arrests. No data is kept on what percentage of recognizance holders arrested end up charged, tried, or convicted, let alone specifically non-refoulement claimants.
- Considering the very real possibility of racial profiling leading to groundless arrests of non-refoulement claimants, as well as the fact that approximately half of overall arrests in Hong Kong do not result in convictions, it is difficult to see the kind of refugee crime picture that certain LegCo members are painting.