Hong Kong bars British editor from entering city following visa ban

Victor Mallet ‘attempted to enter Hong Kong on Thursday as a visitor but was turned away at the border after several hours of questioning by immigration officers,’ a media report said. (Reuters)
Updated 09 November 2018
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Hong Kong bars British editor from entering city following visa ban

  • Hong Kong’s government said on Friday it does not comment on individual immigration cases
  • Authorities have not said why Victor Mallet’s work visa was not renewed

HONG KONG: Hong Kong barred the Asia news editor of the Financial Times from entering the city as a visitor, the newspaper said, after authorities refused to renew his work visa in October, raising questions about the city’s commitment to free speech.
Victor Mallet “attempted to enter Hong Kong on Thursday as a visitor but was turned away at the border after several hours of questioning by immigration officers,” the Financial Times said.
Mallet did not comment further when contacted by Reuters.
Hong Kong’s government said on Friday it does not comment on individual immigration cases.
“In handling each immigration case, the Immigration Department will act in accordance with the laws and policies, and decide whether the entry will be allowed or refused after careful consideration of circumstances of each case,” the government said in an emailed statement.
Analysts have cited the FT editor’s case among other examples of Hong Kong officials taking a tough line on perceived critics and dissent in the former British colony.
On Thursday, a prominent Chinese dissident writer, Ma Jian, said on Twitter that he was told by a Hong Kong arts center that it would no longer host two of his talks as part of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival.
In Mallet’s case, the government declined to renew his work visa last month after a speech he hosted at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) by an independence activist was strongly condemned by officials in China and Hong Kong.
Authorities have not said why Mallet’s work visa was not renewed.
The decision shocked many in the city’s international community and reignited a debate about the viability of promised freedoms in Asian financial hub.
China’s Foreign Ministry had urged the FCC to withdraw its invitation to Andy Chan, a founder of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, which was formally banned by Hong Kong authorities in September.
The FCC, however, refused to cancel the event saying it defended free speech, while neither endorsing nor supporting the views of its speakers.
Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have said the notion of independence violates the principle of “one country, two systems” under which the territory has been governed since Britain handed it back to China in 1997.
The principle promises Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed elsewhere in China, rights which are enshrined in a mini-constitution known as the Basic Law.
The human rights situation in Hong Kong received unprecedented scrutiny this week from several foreign governments at a United Nations hearing.
On Thursday, the exiled Chinese author Ma Jian tweeted that the Tai Kwun arts center had canceled his events there.
The arts center, which was set up with government support, gave no immediate comment to Reuters.
Ma said he had been unable to find a Hong Kong publisher for his satirical novel, China Dream, dubbed by Hong Kong’s literary festival organizers as “Ma’s answer to President Xi Jinping’s goal of restored national greatness.”
“I’m a novelist, not an activist, and am attending the Festival to discuss my new novel, China Dream. My ‘politics’ are simple: I believe in free thought and free speech. Without them, life has no meaning,” Ma wrote on Twitter.
Ma is due to arrive in Hong Kong on Friday afternoon.


Malta journalist murder masterminds identified: report

Three men stand charged with Caruana Galizia’s murder. (Reuters)
Updated 18 November 2018
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Malta journalist murder masterminds identified: report

  • A group of “more than two” Maltese nationals had been identified as having ordered her killing
  • Caruana Galizia, who died on October 16 last year aged 53, sought to expose scandals from petrol smuggling to money laundering, implicating members of the government and organized crime

VALLETTA: The masterminds behind the 2017 car-bomb murder of Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia have been identified according to unnamed police sources quoted by The Sunday Times of Malta.
The report quoted high-ranking officers as saying that a group of “more than two” Maltese nationals had been identified as having ordered her killing.
Three suspects are under arrest for having carried out the murder and facing trial, but the identity of whoever ordered it has remained a mystery.
Caruana Galizia, who died on October 16 last year aged 53, sought to expose scandals from petrol smuggling to money laundering, implicating members of the government and organized crime.
Her blog also launched highly personal attacks on Maltese politicians.
Caruana Galizia’s journalist son Matthew last month blasted what he called a “system of impunity” he said was protecting those who ordered her killing.
Her son, who believes the murder was ordered by powerful figures, said it would “send a terrible lesson if only the people who pressed the button to detonate the bomb ended up in prison.”
Three men stand charged with her murder. Brothers Alfred Degiorgio and George Degiorgio as well as Vince Muscat were arrested on December 4 last year and charged with the murder. Their case is still pending.
The Caruana Galizia family said on Sunday that they was not formally informed by the police that the suspected masterminds had been identified.