Hong Kong journalist barred at Macau border

Phila Siu (left) and José Pereira Coutinho

Phila Siu (left) and José Pereira Coutinho

  |  DR

The professional traveled to the territory to interview deputy José Pereira Coutinho. He was allowed in after three hours detained.

A Hong Kong journalist was arrested yesterday by the Macau immigration authorities for nearly three hours while trying to enter the territory. Phila Siu, reporter for the South China Morning Post (SCMP), had scheduled an interview with deputy Jose Pereira Coutinho.

The communications professional arrived at the Outer Harbor terminal around 11am and was directed to a room by the border authorities and subjected to interrogation. Phila Siu called Pereira Coutinho at 1:00 pm to inform him that he was not allowed to enter Macao and the deputy immediately went to the border post. 45 minutes later, the reporter legally entered the territory.

According to Pereira Coutinho, Phila Siu was asked about the purpose of his trip and who he would be with. Coutinho attributed the decision to keep the journalist detained at the border "to the nervousness of the authorities before the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping".

Recently, two US businessmen from the US Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong were also barred from entering Macao. Robert Grieves and Tara Joseph were coming to AmCham's annual gala at MGM Cotai. To date, the authorities have not issued any explanation for denying entrepreneurs entry, only saying that Grieves and Joseph signed a statement saying they voluntarily agreed not to enter Macao.

As on previous occasions, Macao Security Secretary Wong Sio Chak has countered any speculation on decisions regarding people to enter Macao, reiterating that there are no blacklists at border crossings.