19 December 2012
An estimated 8.65 million passengers will pass through Hong Kong's sea, land and air control points during the upcoming Christmas and New Year festive periods (December 21 to 26 and December 30 to January 2). An increase of about 11 per cent over the corresponding holiday period last year is expected. Among these, 75 per cent or around 6.5 million passengers will pass through land boundary control points during this period. The number of outbound passengers using land boundary control points will reach its peak on December 22 with around 384,000 passengers departing Hong Kong, while the inbound traffic will be at its heaviest on December 26 with around 391,000 people arriving in Hong Kong on that day.
Lo Wu Control Point will be the busiest. During the festive period, it is estimated that there will be 3.06 million passengers, with a daily average of 306,000 passengers, travelling via Lo Wu Control Point. The passenger traffic at the Lok Ma Chau, Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and Shenzhen Bay control points will also be heavy, with daily average forecasts of 90,000, 137,000 and 94,000 passengers respectively.
To cope with the anticipated heavy traffic during the festive period, the Immigration Department has redeployed more than 100 staff to reinforce various control points, has minimised leave for front-line officers and will operate extra clearance counters and kiosks. Additional security guards have been deployed to provide crowd management support.
The Immigration Department, the Police, the Customs and Excise Department and the MTR Corporation will set up a joint command centre to closely monitor passenger traffic conditions and make necessary arrangements. The Immigration Department has also established communication with the Mainland frontier inspection authorities to ensure smooth passenger traffic flow.
To avoid congestion and a longer waiting time for immigration clearance than usual, as traffic at control points is expected to be heavy, the Immigration Department advises all cross-boundary passengers to plan in advance and avoid making their journeys during busy periods, and to keep track of radio and TV broadcasts on traffic conditions at various control points. The expected busy times at land boundary control points are available on the website of the Immigration Department at www.immd.gov.hk. In addition, information on public transport services to and from various control points is available on the Transport Department website at www.td.gov.hk. The Immigration Department will upload daily passenger statistics for the above festive periods on its website at www.immd.gov.hk for public reference.
The Immigration Department reminds cross-boundary passengers to take their identity cards and valid travel documents when they travel to the Mainland. Hong Kong residents should check the validity of their Home Visit Permits, in particular residents under the age of 18 whose Home Visit Permits are valid for three years from the date of issue. Non-permanent Hong Kong residents should take their valid smart identity card as well as their Document of Identity for Visa Purposes or other valid travel document.
Those in the process of having their identity cards replaced who are holding an acknowledgement receipt, or children under 11 years old who hold Hong Kong identity cards, should carry a valid travel document or Re-entry Permit for travel.
There are 400 e-Channels installed at various control points. Re-enrolment is required for enrolled passengers who have received a new identity card to continue using the Express e-Channel.
Hong Kong residents who require assistance while travelling outside Hong Kong may call the Hong Kong Immigration Department's 24-hour hotline at (852) 1868.