12/07/2004, 00.00
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Falun Gong follower denied entry to HK

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A New Zealand follower of the Falun Gong meditation sect who was convicted of obstructing Hong Kong police during a protest has been barred from entering the territory, the group said on Tuesday.

Jenny Lee arrived in Hong Kong late on Monday from New York but immigration officials detained her at the airport and confiscated her plane ticket, according to fellow practitioner Lu Jie. Ms Lee wanted to visit her son in Hong Kong and monitor the progress of her court case before returning home, Ms Lu said. Ms Lee's hometown in New Zealand wasn't immediately known.

Ms Lu said Ms Lee called her early on Tuesday and said she was being deported.

It wasn't clear where Ms Lee had been sent. Hong Kong's Immigration Department had no immediate information on the case and New Zealand Vice Consul Stephen Wong said he was still obtaining details about the situation from the authorities.

Although Falun Gong is banned in China as an evil cult, it is allowed to practice in the territory. However, the sect, together with many religious and political personalities, allege that Beijing has pressured Hong Kong to crack down on it.

Ms Lee is among a group of Falun Gong followers convicted of public obstruction, after protesting outside China's liaison office in Hong Kong two years ago. The sect alleged the case was politically motivated.

While the group successfully appealed their public obstruction convictions, some of them, including Ms Lee, are still challenging more serious convictions of obstructing or assaulting police.

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