Many Shenzhen agencies are refusing to help mainland mothers-to-be give birth in Hong Kong without prior medical bookings, because of stricter examinations at the border.
Eva Cheng, Secretary for Hong Kong Transport and Housing Bureau, said Wednesday that pregnant mainland travelers who fail to present proof of a Hong Kong hospital reservation will not be allowed to enter Hong Kong.
Most Shenzhen agents now promise only to book a hospital bed for clients, and only a very few say they can help clients cross the border successfully if clients are willing to pay more money, Shenzhen Economic Daily reported.
“The possibility of helping maternity mothers enter Hong Kong without prior medical bookings is very low at the moment. In the past, I would help one or two women successfully every month, but I don’t offer the service now,” said a Shenzhen-based agent surnamed Ye.
In the past, some expectant mainland mothers who did not have a medical booking at a Hong Kong hospital would demand to cross the border to give birth as an emergency situation. Some were secretly transported in a van, through agencies.
“Now, customs officials check the vans very carefully, so it is very hard to help mothers-to-be enter Hong Kong. We can only help clients book beds at the hospitals, but the reservations should be in advance,” said a staff member of another Shenzhen agency.
But some agencies still say they can help pregnant women enter Hong Kong for increased fees.
“The charge for a private hospital is about HK$60,000 to HK$80,000 (US$7,740-10,320) and more money is needed if she has carried the baby for more than 21 weeks. If paying HK$160,000 more, we can book a bed for her right away,” said an unidentified employee from a Hong Kong agent.
The employee also said they could arrange doctors with both Hong Kong and mainland medical licenses to give maternity checks in Shenzhen, so women don’t have to worry about entering Hong Kong for the checks.
“The service is only about 20,000 yuan, and women can pay 6,000 yuan more if they insist on doing the checks in Hong Kong. It is not a large amount of money and we can find connections at checkpoints to help the women, who only hold travel visas, enter Hong Kong successfully,” the employee said.
On Monday, Xu Li, a 29-year-old mainland agent, was sentenced to 10 months in jail by a Hong Kong court for helping mainland maternity tourists give birth in Hong Kong. She is the first person from the mainland to be prosecuted by Hong Kong’s immigration department.
(By Wang Yuanyuan)