France, Hong Kong sign immigration pact

9th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

Hong Kong, Jan 9 (AFP) - French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy attended the signing of an agreement between Hong Kong and France on Friday to fight illegal immigration and organised crime.

Hong Kong, Jan 9 (AFP) - French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy attended the signing of an agreement between Hong Kong and France on Friday to fight illegal immigration and organised crime.

The agreement is similar to one reached Thursday between France and China during a one-day visit by Sarkozy.

It provides for the installation of a French border control officer in Hong Kong and a Hong Kong officer at Roissy airport, near Paris, as part of efforts to halt illegal immigration.

"Hong Kong is Asia's premier aerial hub in terms of passengers and (its) second in logistics," Sarkozy said, underlining the importance of the former British colony in efforts against illegal immigration.

About 4,000 Chinese attempted to enter France illegally in both 2002 and 2003, according to French ministry figures.

Friday's agreement also targeted the trafficking of drugs, money-laundering and counterfeiting, with more emphasis on organised crime than the accord reached with Beijing.

"A lot of triads come from Hong Kong," Sarkozy said, because "it is there that there is the most money, more so I would say than Beijing."

The deal foresees the deployment in Hong Kong within weeks of French criminal affairs specialists to fight drug trafficking, and economic and finance specialists to deal with money launderers and counterfeiters.

A Hong Kong police official would in turn be sent to France.

© AFP

                                Subject: France news

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