SCMP Thursday, September 7, 2000

Lost boy prompts review of policy


Guangdong has promised to improve the way it handles people found wandering at the border if an inquiry into missing Hong Kong boy Yu Man-hon suggests faulty procedures were to blame.
The Guangdong Public Security Bureau made the pledge yesterday as the hunt for Man-hon, 15, who has been missing for 15 days after running away from his mother at Yau Ma Tei MTR station, continued.
The vice-director of the bureau's propaganda department, Li Shibin, said mainland authorities would improve their procedures for handling such cases if necessary. "But what has gone wrong has to be found out first."
The bureau said it had issued three emergency orders concerning Man-hon to branches at county and municipal levels. The last one given out on Monday extended the search from Shenzhen, Dongguan and the Pearl River region to all 120 offices in the province.
Man-hon, who is autistic and has a mental age of two, ran away on August 24. He was seen by mainland officers at the Shenzhen border that day but later released after SAR immigration officers failed to confirm the identity of Man-hon, who did not respond to questions and had no identity documents.
The SAR Immigration Department is investigating if its officers were negligent or poor procedures were involved.
McDonald's - Man-hon's favourite fast-food restaurant - will post notices about the boy at its branches in Shenzhen and Guangzhou today. Cross-border bus companies have also agreed to put up posters printed by the Immigration Department on their coaches.