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Two Taiwanese deported by Hong Kong for altering passport covers

2016/02/28 12:34:54

Hong Kong, Feb. 28 (CNA) Two Taiwanese nationals were denied entry to Hong Kong on Saturday for placing "stickers" on the cover of their passports, the Hong Kong Immigration Department said late Saturday.

When processing their entry documents, immigration officials noticed that the travelers' Republic of China (Taiwan) passports had stickers on them, a department spokesperson said.

The officials suspected that the Taiwanese nationals did not have legal authorization to change their travel documents and deported them after questioning, the spokesperson said.

The department did not specify what kinds of stickers were found on the passports, but Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao reported that they showed the name "Republic of Taiwan."

The stickers are used by supporters of the Taiwanese independence movement who do not recognize the Republic of China -- Taiwan's official name -- as a country, and instead support a "Republic of Taiwan."

[Supporters of the Taiwanese independence movement display an enlarged version of the altered passport cover. (CNA file photo)]

It was the first time that Taiwanese nationals were denied entry in Hong Kong for using such stickers, but similar incidents have occurred in Singapore and Macau in the recent past.

According to the revised Passport Statute Enforcement Regulations, which took effect on Jan. 1, authorities can revoke citizens' passports if they deface or alter them, including putting stickers on them.

(By Stanley Cheung and Christie Chen)