HONG KONG: Hong Kong marine police seized two boatloads of illegal migrants as authorities called for changes to a law that has led to a recent influx of asylum seekers, police said on Monday.
In one of two interceptions, 10 South Asian men and a mainland Chinese pilot were arrested early Sunday morning in an eight-metre wooden boat off the coast of the southern Chinese city, the police said in a statement.
The vessel’s lights had been turned off and there were no life jackets or other safety equipment on board, police said.
The 10 men had each paid about 5,700 Hong Kong dollars (735 US) for a seat on the boat, which was designed for only four passengers, according to one media report.
Hong Kong’s police said they had arrested another boatload of eight Pakistani illegal migrants on Saturday.
The number of illegal migrants entering Hong Kong has been rising since a court ruling in March allowed asylum seekers to work in the city while awaiting a decision on their immigration status.
Legislators are trying to pass a law that will end this concession. —AFP