|Headline: HK government cancels Touch-Base Policy as of midnight (October 26, 1980)|
Before 1949, people could move freely between Hong Kong (then a British colony) and China. But with the Chinese Civil War, waves of refugees from China rushed to Hong Kong. The population of Hong Kong increased almost three-fold in just five years between 1945 and 1950. The sudden large increase in population posed a huge problem. A heavy strain was put on public utilities, such as housing, education and social services.
Famous people who immigrated to HK during this time: Ha Yu, Kara Hui, Lo Hoi PangIn 1974, the Hong Kong government introduced the Touch-Base Policy (抵壘政策), which stated that immigrants who reached the city and connected (ie. "touched base") with their relatives, could apply for Hong Kong residency. Those who were caught at the borders were sent back to China immediately.
The rationale behind the policy is that if the immigrants continued to live in Hong Kong with an illegal status, they would enter the black market for labour or participate in criminal activities. Moreover, the immigrants could serve as a source of cheap labour for the thriving industries.
|Anyone who made it past Boundary Street was considered to have reached urban territory. |
However, the Touch-Base Policy did nothing to stop the influx of immigrants. If anything, it may have encouraged people to make repeated attempts to get to Hong Kong. In October 1980, the government abolished the Touch-Base Policy. Immigrants who had arrived before October 23 were given a three-day grace period to register for Hong Kong identity. After that, illegal immigrants were subjected to repatriation upon arrest.
|Headline: HK government reminds residents over age 15 to carry their identity cards|