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Hong Kong good citizenship applications jump as people eye exit amid protests

The good citizenship documents certify a person doesn’t have a criminal record and are needed to apply for foreign visas, or residency in another country.

Demonstrators join hands to form a human chain during the Hong Kong Way event in the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Hong Kong, China (Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg)

Applications for Hong Kong good citizenship cards jumped almost 50% the first two weeks of August from a year earlier, in a sign residents may be more seriously contemplating leaving the city.

The good citizenship documents certify a person doesn’t have a criminal record and are needed to apply for foreign visas, or residency in another country.

Tensions have flared in the former British colony as pro-democracy protests that started in June show no sign of letting up: last weekend began with the formation of a peaceful human chain across the city and ended two days later with police firing a weapon and using water cannons.

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“This is evidence that many Hong Kongers are seeking to move overseas, or at least obtain residency overseas so that they have the option to go,” said Georg Chmiel, executive chairman of real estate site Juwai.com. “While the data doesn’t show for sure that people are applying for these police checks for their foreign visa applications, it is relatively rare to seek these documents for any other purpose.”

First published on: 28-08-2019 at 09:48 IST
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