British consular protection enjoyed by BN(O) passport holders outside the PRC and the UK

"For information regarding whether BN(O) passport holders can enjoy British consular protection inside the mainland China, please refer to the article Home Return Permit."

The British Government claims that British National (Overseas) passport holders enjoy the same level of consular service in third countries (outside the UK and PRC) as other British Nationals. [http://www.britishconsulate.org.hk/english/bchk/Br_Comm.htm]

In 2000, the British Government claimed that "Cantonese-speaking staff at the British Consulate-General pay periodic visits to the 80 or so BN(O)s who are in prison in Thailand." [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199900/cmselect/cmfaff/574/0102506.htm]

In 2005, the British Consulate-General Hong Kong advertises for renewal of BN(O) passports in some magazines (e.g. "HK Magazine") in Hong Kong, saying that "Travel with confidence on your BN(O) passport. Reliable. Secure. And renewable for life."

The Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) claims that BN(O)s who are also PRC citizens can enjoy PRC consular protection in third countries even they travelled on their BN(O) passports. [http://www.fmcoprc.gov.hk/chn/xwfb/gsxwg/2000/t40883.htm]

However, there are doubts regarding the effectiveness of British consular protection for BN(O)s outside the UK and the PRC.

In 1999, it was reported that a Hong Kong resident, who travelled to India on his BN(O) passport, had been wrongly detained for 23 days because his BN(O) passport was suspected by Indian officials to be fake and was certified as a forgery by the British High Commission in Bombay without seeking verification from the relevant authorities (British Consulate-General) in Hong Kong. However, he sought assistance from the PRC Embassy there and the BN(O) passport was verified by the British Consulate-General Hong Kong under pressure of the PRC Government. It was found that his BN(O) passport was genuine. [http://www.fmcoprc.gov.hk/chn/xwfb/gsxwg/2000/t40883.htm] [http://past.people.com.cn/GB/other4583/5071/10514/20030606/1010223.html] ( [http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr00-01/english/counmtg/hansard/001025fe.pdf] pp.22-25)

In 1999. Mr Wu, a BN(O) holding Hong Kong resident, is said to be a member of the gang once led by Cheung Tze-keung. He was arrested by police in a Bangkok street. As the request of the Chinese Government, Mr Wu was sent to mainland China directly. No formal extradition hearing was held for him because, say the Thai authorities, “he didn’t ask for it”. They also claimed that Mr Wu, went willingly to China. The British Foreign Office stated that it should have been informed of Mr Wu’s arrest and impending extradition. Mr Wu, in turn, should have been able to seek British consular assistance in Bangkok. However, John Battle, claimed the Thai authorities had promised it would not happen again later. ("Chinese law -- A very long arm", "The Economist", Nov 25th 1999)

ee also

*British nationality law and Hong Kong
*Chinese nationality law


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