Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak has revealed that the local government has recently proposed to the central government that Macau’s Lotus Flower Bridge border checkpoint be moved from Cotai to Hengqin Island in Zhuhai, adding that a “new mode of clearance” might be adopted after the relocation of the Macau-side checkpoint to the island of the neighbouring city.
Wong did not elaborate on what the new mode of clearance might be.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Wong made the remarks while speaking to reporters on Friday on the sidelines of the graduation ceremony of the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) at Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion.
Wong attended the institute’s graduation ceremony in his then capacity as acting chief executive as Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On was on a two-day working visit to three cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) – Zhuhai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – on Thursday and Friday. Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan is among the members of Chui’s entourage. Chui will visit Zhongshan and Jiangmen today.
Macau’s border checkpoint in Cotai is linked to Zhuhai’s border checkpoint in Hengqin via the Lotus Flower Bridge across a narrow river between the western shore of Cotai and the island administered by Zhuhai.
The Cotai-Hengqin checkpoints came into service in March 2000. A temporary building for the Hengqin checkpoint came into use in December 2014, after which the original checkpoint building was demolished for the ongoing construction of a new border checkpoint-public transport complex, which will also include commercial buildings, on the same site.
According to recent mainland media reports, the Macau government submitted a report to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council in May about a preliminary study of the feasibility of moving the Lotus Flower Bridge checkpoint from Cotai to Hengqin Island.
According to the mainland news reports, the Macau government hopes that the future checkpoint complex in Hengqin will make it possible for the Macau side checkpoint to move there. The Macau government report calls for a “new mode of clearance” to be adopted at the future Hengqin checkpoint so that it will be more convenient for people to travel between Macau and Hengqin.
The mainland news reports also said that the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office has already launched relevant procedures for studying the Macau government report.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Wong confirmed that the local government has submitted a preliminary proposal to the central government about the feasibility of moving the Lotus Flower Bridge checkpoint from Cotai to Hengqin Island.
Wong said that the preliminary proposal includes various issues such as land use, modes of clearance, and the implementation of laws and regulations of the two jurisdictions – Macau and mainland.
Wong stressed that the proposal will need to be approved by the central government.
Wong said that the local government right now could not announce details of its Lotus checkpoint relocation proposal. He said that the local government would announce details of its proposal only after it obtains the green light from the central government.