HK, Macao travel gets easier from Guangdong
( 2003-08-18 09:33) (China Daily)
Starting this Wednesday, residents from Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai will be able to visit the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions individually instead of joining tourism groups.
And Luo Juan, deputy director-general of Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Public Security, Sunday promised that the Guangdong police would expand co-operation and exchange with their Hong Kong and Macao counterparts and immigration departments to help fight the possible cross-border illegal events caused by the large number of individual tourists from her province in the future.
Addressing a press conference Sunday in Guangzhou, Luo said her bureau would gradually allow all residents in Guangdong to visit Hong Kong and Macao on their own, without joining a tour group, before May 1, 2004.
Luo predicted only a tiny number of Guangdong residents, about 7 to 8 per 10,000, would engage in illicit employment, prostitute, smuggling and other illegal activities in Hong Kong and Macao when they travel there individually.
Overstayers and those who break the laws of Hong Kong and Macao will be seriously punished. "They will not be granted any travel documents and permits to the two regions for five years," Luo added.
Luo said allowing Guang-dong residents to visit Hong Kong and Macao individually is not an expedient measure, but a long-term policy to boost exchanges and co-operation between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao and promote economic development.
According to the new regulation, beginning from Wednesday, residents in the three cities only need to hand in their identity card and hukou (household registration) to apply for their travel document to visit Hong Kong and Macao individually.
After being granted a visitor permit, the travel document holders will be allowed to stay in Hong Kong and Macao for sightseeing for seven days once they enter the two regions.
But civil servants, managers of State-owned enterprises and staff in banks and the financial sector will still have to get approval from their work units to travel individually to Hong Kong and Macao.
The exit and entry departments of the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Bureau charges each applicant only 100 yuan (US$12) per travel document, plus 20 yuan (US$2.40) for each visitor permit.
And all the travel document and visitor permit will be issued within 15 working days.
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