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Hong Kong Twins Won’t Be Seperated

April 15, 2002

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HONG KONG (AP) _ As Hong Kong sends thousands of Chinese migrants back to the mainland, authorities showed rare leniency Monday to identical twins nearly separated by the deportations.

``I’m so happy _ I just can’t describe it,″ said Lin Yeung-ming, 18, who had been dreading the day that authorities might come to take her away from her parents and twin sister, Lin Yok-oi.

Instead, Hong Kong Immigration Department officials telephoned the family early Monday and said the mainland Chinese government had granted Yeung-ming a one-way visa which is required for any Chinese who wants to legally leave the mainland. The move means Hong Kong can let the teen stay.

About 4,300 mainland migrants are believed to still be in Hong Kong, defying orders that they go home after losing all their court appeals to remain in the affluent former British colony.

The migrants say they should be allowed to stay with parents who moved to Hong Kong to find work and later become residents. Many of the migrants’ children came later, but some were denied resident status.

When the twins’ parents obtained permission five years ago, they only got official clearance for one of their twins. No reason was given, but the family believed that reflected the mainland’s policy of one child per family.

Although the deportations are splitting up families, few can expect to stay on humanitarian grounds, said Security Secretary Regina Ip.

Ip earlier said authorities plan to remove 2,000 of the remaining illegal migrants in coming weeks, and that police have stepped up the hunt and will raid homes if necessary.

Two other migrants were forcibly sent home early Monday, activists said.

Immigration Department spokesman Alvin Tam said about 50 people have been returned to China since the March 31 deadline for them to leave Hong Kong.

Update hourly