Vietnamese illegal immigrants are put on a chartered flight to Vietnam in 2018 Photo: Hong Kong Government

Over the period from 2014 to 2018, a total of 9,137 torture claimants, persons seeking asylum in Hong Kong who claimed their safety would be in danger were they to return to their home countries, have been deported from Hong Kong by the Immigration Department.

Among them, 4,953 were claimants whose torture claims were rejected. John Lee Ka-chiu, secretary for security released the figures when he replied in writing to questions raised at the Legislative Council on Wednesday.

In 2018, 1,859 people were removed, a rise of 39% over the previous year.

The numbers of claimants removed included those whose torture applications were rejected, withdrawn, or for which no further action could be taken before the unified screening mechanism was implemented in March 2014.

Vietnam, with a total of 1,151 people removed over the past five years, topped the source country list, followed by India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Nepal.

Lee said that lately, the number of new claims and illegal immigrants has dropped by 80% compared to when numbers were at their peak.

Meanwhile, Lee said the government has been monitoring crimes committed by non-ethnic Chinese persons including asylum seekers and their involvement in triad activities in Hong Kong.

In 2018, 1,150 non-ethnic Chinese persons, mostly asylum seekers, were arrested for crimes. This figure was down by 25.4% compared to the previous year.

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