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First 'birth tourism' sentencing made in Hong Kong


A court yesterday sentenced a mainland woman convicted of helping expectant mainland mothers to give birth in Hong Kong to 10 months in jail.

BEIJING – Earlier this week my colleagues Adrienne Mong and Bo Gu reported on the growing issue of mainland Chinese women crossing the border into Hong Kong to give birth and the subsequent tension that has been brewing in the former British colony.

Well, Hong Kong’s courts made news yesterday when they sentenced a mainland agent to 10 months in jail after she was found guilty of two charges of “making a false representation to an immigration officer” and “breach of condition of stay.”

It was the first such conviction of a “birth tourist” agent in Hong Kong.

The agent, Xu Li, 29, a former babysitter from Hubei province was found to be assisting expectant mainland mothers in navigating the administrative and legal processes required to give birth in Hong Kong. Besides that, Xu helped to find accommodations and to arrange pre-natal checkups for her clients.

Such facilitators can normally charges their clients between a few thousand yuan and 20,000 yuan ($3,200) for their services in navigating the system

Hong Kong’s Immigration Department is said to be pursing prosecutions of up to 40 other such mainland agents and 20 local intermediaries who help mainland mothers give birth in the Special Administrative Region.

Mainland mothers are eager to give birth to their children in Hong Kong, which like the United States, affords the ride of abode to Chinese citizens born in Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has pledged recently to curb the influx of mainland mothers-to-be, who accounted for an astounding 45 percent of the 88,000 births in Hong Kong in 2010.