The new Macao-mainland joint Hengqin checkpoint – officially called “Hengqin Port” – that opened to the general public Tuesday afternoon cuts clearance time to about 30 seconds, according to a statement released by the Gongbei Customs District on Tuesday.
The clearance services for travellers and for Macao-bound vehicles has now relocated to the new Hengqin checkpoint building, while the clearance services for mainland-bound vehicles remain at the current Hengqin checkpoint building, which is adjacent to the new Hengqin checkpoint building.
Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said in a speech during the opening ceremony at the new checkpoint that the joint Hengqin Port has implemented a “Joint Inspection and One-Time Release” principle for customs clearance, which is the same as the Macao-Zhuhai border checkpoint serving the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
In his speech Ho said that the “Joint Inspection and One-Time Release” overcomes challenges presented due to the differences between Macao and Guangdong in their respective legal systems, adding that it also sets an example for the successful mainland-Macao cooperation under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.
Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui said in his speech during the opening ceremony that “the new Hengqin Port is a benchmark project in the development of the Greater Bay Area. Its launch has created favourable conditions for further exchanges between Macao and Guangdong, for closer Guangdong-Macao ties, and for advancement of the Greater Bay Area”.
During a press conference after the opening ceremony, Macao Public Security Forces Affairs Bureau (DSFSM) Director Kok Fong Mei pointed out that the new checkpoint is open 24 hours. She also noted that during the first phase of the checkpoint’s opening, there will be 48 joint e-channels, eight joint manual channels and 13 traditional manual channels, adding that there will be 8 e-channels for vehicle clearance services. Kok said she estimated that all the channels could process up to 220,000 people and 7,000 vehicles per day.
According to Hengqin New Area Administrative Committee Director Yang Chuan, the Hengqin Port and its nearby area will provide 11,474 parking spaces. He added that a link – by access roads and a bridge – between the University of Macau (UM) campus on Hengqin and the checkpoint is expected to be completed by 2022.
“Moreover, an area has been reserved for the possible extension of Macao’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) and other transportation to the checkpoint, adding that the timing of the gradual implementation will be determined later.” he said.
When asked about any security problems potentially occurring at the new checkpoint, Public Security Police (PSP) Acting Deputy Commissioner Ng Sou Peng said that it depended on where the crime happens, adding that if the crime occurs on the Macao side of the checkpoint, then the Public Security Police would tackle the matter in accordance with Macao’s legal system.
Ng also underlined that there are a number of CCTV cameras inside and around the new checkpoint to monitor people and ensure public safety.
The Macao part of the joint checkpoint is under Macao’s jurisdiction.
During a media tour, PSP officials recommended people to convert their Macao Health Code to the Guangdong Health Code before arriving at the checkpoint to facilitate a smoother process while using the clearance services.
A number of senior officials from Macao and the mainland attended the opening ceremony, including Macao’s first chief executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah, who is a vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), as well as Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) Deputy Director Deng Zhonghua, Central People’s Government Liaison Office in Macau Deputy Director Yan Zhichan and Acting Foreign Ministry Commissioner Wang Dong.
Macao’s Lotus Flower border checkpoint has been closed but will remain on standby if needed, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said last week.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)
PHOTO © Government Information Bureau (GCS)