Wong: “Two Customs, one inspection” under study

The government is studying with Mainland authorities a viable proposal which enables passengers to conduct only one Customs inspection when they travel between the territory and China, the Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, said yesterday in the Legislative Assembly (AL). The Secretary, continuing his debate session with legislators on the 2016 Policy Address yesterday, said the two parties are striving to arrive at a proposal for a “two Customs, one inspection” service by the end of this year. “For example, when residents depart from the territory they use their Chinese Home Visit Permits. When they enter the city from the Mainland they use their Macau ID cards,” the government official told the legislators. Currently, travellers are inspected twice when travelling between the two regions, by the Macau Customs and the Mainland Customs authorities, respectively. But the Secretary did not reveal when the new model for border-crossing would be implemented, just indicating it may be first applied at the border checkpoint for the new passageway between Macau and Guangdong. He added that the new model may also be applied to future border checkpoints for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the new Cotai border. According to the official, the local government will meet again with Chinese security officials for further discussion on the issue on December 14 in the Special Administrative Region. Meanwhile, legislator Sio Chi Wai queried whether the government would negotiate with other countries, such as South Korea and Australia, to allow local residents to enter foreign territories via e-channels. The Secretary replied that it would need discussion and co-operation with other countries to achieve a win-win measure. No completion date for new prison The Secretary also told legislators that he could not estimate the completion date for the new prison construction in Coloane. “I want to know the completion date for the new prison, as well. The prison director has been complaining to me that the space in the current prison is not enough. For Phases 3 and 4 of the construction, we should ask the contractor to speed up,” he said in response to legislator Kwan Tsui Hang’s enquiry into the progress of infrastructure related to the security section. In fact, Mr. Wong revealed that he has been meeting with the Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo Rosario monthly since July this year on these issues. “We talk about the issues we have. This kind of meeting between us is totally new but very effective. We raise problems we encounter; we try to understand these problems and to resolve them,” he said. According to the Secretary, the current progress of the new prison construction “is going well”. The construction of the new prison, separated into four phases, was initiated in 2010 and was expected to be completed in 2014. However, the acceptance check for the first phase of construction is still underway, while the government is to sign the construction contract for the second phase works soon, according to the Policy Address.