Immigration irritation

I went to the China-Hong Kong land border at Shenzhen yesterday so I could cross over to Hong Kong and arrange for a flight ticket to Australia. But after seeing tons of visa stamps on my passport_ all land borders and no airport entry_ immigration officials were suspicious about my intention to visit Hong Kong. They denied me an entry. I appealed against the decision and the appeal went to a female officer.

She interviewed me for a considerably long time. I think aspirants grilled by the Indian Army, before recruitment, may not find their interviews as tough as I did. She wanted to see photographs that I had clicked during my journey in order to verify my story. She went through my cellphone and did not spare personal pictures either (by personal, I mean pictures of me taking a bath in a river. Do not get ideas). She asked if I was married. When I replied in the negative, she wanted to know if I had a girlfriend. I was in a dilemma. Does a crush count? Because I had a crush on a girl in Mumbai but never dared to tell her, fearing rejection. I decided to say that I have a girlfriend.

This complicated things a bit. The officer demanded to see correspondence exchanged with my girlfriend. I told her that we don’t write to each other and only speak on phone. She then asked for my bank statements. I showed her my visa for Australian which was electronic. She did not understand the concept of an electronic visa where there is no stamp on the passport.

Her final question was whether I wanted to go back to India and what are my employment prospects there. I told her that I had was a journalist for seven years and I could join the organization where I had worked before leaving India. She then thanked me for answering her questions and asked me to wait outside. I was biting my nails in anticipation as a Hong Kong-Australia flight was the most inexpensive and I needed to get into it.

But I was told after a long time that  entry to Hong Kong had been denied to me. This is when Indian passport holders are allowed free entry upto 15 days! Can you guess why? I’m going to leave this to your imagination and wait for comments. A detailed transcript of my grilling will be posted online in a few days. For now, I’m back in mainland China (not to be confused with the Indian restaurant of the same name), looking for another way to fly cheap to Australia. I’m glad the Chinese authorities took me back in; my China visa is valid till September 1.

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