Nepali diplomat tells Hong Kong to set up detention camps for asylum seekers

Nepal’s consul-general backs plans by local politician for camps to discourage economic migrants. In all, 300 Nepalis have sought asylum in Hong Kong, a few after the civil war. For diplomat, “Maybe some of them are fake”.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Baliram Prasad Dhami, Nepal’s consul-general to Hong Kong, has asked Hong Kong to set up a detention camp for Nepalis claiming refugee status to weed out “bogus claimants” whose action is detrimental to other Nepalis.

The diplomat made the proposal at a press conference jointly organised with pro-Beijing lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun. Minority rights activists immediately challenged his proposal as a violation of human rights.

Last month, Executive Councillor and former Security Minister Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee called for a camp to be set up in Shenzhen for asylum claimants to stem the influx of economic immigrants to the city.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying rejected the idea, although he accused the refugees of causing great distress to the city.

In agreeing to it, Consul-General Dhami said, “We can put them in some refugee detention camp [to let them have] bad experiences that life is not as it is [expected].”

As of February, Hong Kong immigration has processed the claims of some 300 Nepalis, 3 per cent of the total. Few of them came to the city after the country’s civil war with Maoist militias ended in 2006. Still, “Maybe some of them are fake,” Dhami said.

Hong Kong has a backlog of 11,160 asylum applications. More than half are said to be illegal immigrants and cases can take up 2.3 years to process.

The government expects related expenditures this year to balloon from HK4 million (US$ 83 million) to HK.4 billion (US$ 180 million).