Incredible Travel Stories:
A Tourist Under Suspicion - Part 2
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
August 20, 2011, Room 1231, 5 am
The Royal Garden, Hong Kong
The MIO was a gentleman looked to be in his 40s and has an air of confidence and experience in catching crooks, I guessed since he was more senior in rank than the previous officer. I was a lieutenant in the National Service in Singapore Armed Forces' Provost Unit Dog Company some 30 years ago and his two piques would be equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the Singapore Armed Forces.
He offered me the use of the bathroom at the far end of the room or drinking water in the office. The cups were a cone made of paper with no fanciful trimmings unlike the more expensive ones in Singapore's office. They were the paper equivalent of ice-cream cones and that was good for it meant less trees would be chopped down unlike those fanciful cups.
I thanked him for the kind offer and sat down in the same room to be interrogated. I enquired politely as to why I was detained. "You are not detained, you are being interviewed," he replied courteously. "If you are detained, you will not be in this office." I imagined I would be in a dungeon underground and hand-cuffed going there since I had never encountered an Immigration interview in my 60 years of living.
In any case, I was about to be sent packing to the airport on a one-way ticket to Singapore without even eating the delicious tim sum and sea food of Hongkong after 18 years of absence. The power is always in the hand of the Immigration Officer on the ground. Of course, Hong Kong is a civilised and most developed country, not a banana republic and a mad and angry tourist under suspicion can be got rid off without reasons being given.
In any case, I was not angry. Each country has a right to deny visits from foreigners. The world is never fair. I just did not want to spend 4 days and 3 nights sight-seeing in Macau as a substitute to visit the fastest growing capitalistic one-China-government-two-administrative-systems. I just wanted to re-visit the old places I went to when I was marketing Orlando,Florida properties in Hong Kong some 20 years ago. Wanchai, Times Square, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, see the trams and see the ordinary Hong Kong people.
Yet the MIO thought otherwise. No friends in Hongkong. No visits since 1988. Unusual for a Singaporean. A tourist under suspicion. But what was so serious that I would be denied entry into Hong Kong?
"You have not committed a crime," the MIO told me when I suggested that the squad who black-marked me interview me. Why not? They have the fish in the net now.
"It is not that simple," the MIO explained. "In any case, what do you mean by 'black-marked'?"