Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said that the local police would continue discussions today with their counterparts in the mainland about details of a new entry-exit system initially only planned for the future Duck Channel checkpoint, adding that the government would ensure that the new system will be in line with the Macau Basic Law and no mainland law enforcement officers will be allowed to operate on the Macau side.
The new system is informally known as ‘two borders, one check’.
The Public Security Police (PSP) announced earlier this year that the two sides planned to set up automated immigration facilities straddling the land border at the future ‘Duck Channel’ checkpoint, apart from “one or two traditional immigration clearance counters there”.
The PSP also said the local government had been in talks with the central government about the implementation of the new system, which would only require one immigration check for Macau residents holding Chinese nationality when travelling to, or returning from, the mainland via the checkpoint. The residents would only need to show their Home Visit Permit when entering the mainland, and their local ID (BIR) when returning to Macau. Local residents without a Home Visit Permit such as foreign nationals who have acquired local residency status would not able to use the automated clearance facilities at the future checkpoint, according to the PSP.
After the announcement, some community leaders, lawyers and academics raised concerns on privacy issues and possible grey areas resulting from the differences in the legal systems of both sides.
Asked by reporters about the system on the sidelines of ‘March of a Million’ charity event, Wong said that the local police would continue discussing details of the implementation of the system with their mainland counterparts today.
“We will consider the possible problems involved in the legal implementation and the Macau Basic Law,” Wong said, adding that law enforcement officials from the mainland would be barred from enforcing mainland laws on the Macau side of the checkpoint, and vice versa.
When further asked by reporters about locals’ personal data possibly not being protected as they would automatically be recorded by both sides of the border once the system is implemented, Wong pointed out that some private information was already being given to the mainland authorities when applications are made for the Home Visit Permit.
However, he was quick to add that both sides would consider what personal data can be accessed by either side.