Hong Kong | Ottawa warns of citizenship ban

(Hong Kong) Canada warned its citizens on Thursday that Hong Kong authorities could prevent them from leaving the city, raising fears about exit restrictions in place on China’s mainland.

The law, which gives the immigration chief the power to block boardings or power from the city, went into effect Sunday.

“Under this change, people, including foreigners, may not be able to leave the country,” Canada’s travel consultant Twitter account said.

The tweet referred to an updated announcement made by Ottawa on Tuesday, specifically referring to these new rules.

“Until you leave Hong Kong you will not know that you are subject to operating restrictions,” the advice says.

“While the law does not clarify, these new powers relate to the investigations and criminal and civil matters of an individual, his or her family or employer.”

“Exit bans” are often used against activists who challenge the authorities on mainland China, but also against traders involved in trade disputes.

Some Western countries, including the United States and Britain, have criticized the law, but Canada has been the first to publicly mention the risk of a travel ban.

The Hong Kong government says the law will not apply to people leaving the city and is intended to prevent the arrival of illegal immigrants.

But legal experts say the words do not limit power to planes or incoming immigrants, and apply to anyone trying to leave Hong Kong.

To address those concerns, the Hong Kong government said it would draw up a by-law in April stating that the law would only apply to incoming flights.

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