China / HK Macao Taiwan

E-cards to ease entry to HK, Macao

By Zhang Yan ( Updated: 2014-09-10 20:34

Beginning on Sept 15, mainland residents will be able to use electronic cards to pass through customs when traveling to Hong Kong and Macao, according to the Ministry of Public Security on Wednesday.

"The cards will improve efficiency for a large number of Chinese residents and help combat counterfeit certificates," said Wu Ying, a senior official in the ministry's exit and entry management bureau.

Figures provided by the ministry show that, last year, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Hong Kong and Macao hit 65.54 million, an increase of 16.1 percent over 2012.

The electronic pass cards look like national ID cards and contain integrated circuits that hold data about the individual, as well as issuance information. The cards also make use of anti-counterfeit techniques.

The ministry said applicants can register and apply for the new electronic cards in their local exit and entry management departments. For people over 16 years of age, local police will collect fingerprints and issue the cards.

Qualified travelers will swipe their cards rather than waiting for official seals to be stamped by the border police, the ministry said.

"The card usage information will be kept in the computer system, and travelers can ask the authorities on the mainland or in Hong Kong for the remaining passing times," according to Wu

The ministry said the valid period of the electronic pass cards are 10 years for adults and five years for minors.

In May, Guangdong province - which is adjacent to Hong Kong and Macao - was the pilot test area for the electronic cards. The police there have issued more than 1.98 million cards to applicants. Issuances have gone up by 3.18 million, according to the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Bureau.

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