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Block on Tibetan monk challenged

August 8, 2008

The Standard (Hong Kong)
August 5, 2008

A relative of a Tibetan monk denied entry to Hong Kong is demanding a
full explanation from authorities.

The monk, Pemba Sherpa, 44, of the Drukpa Kagyu school of Tibetan
Buddhism, was making his sixth trip to Hong Kong on Sunday, having
traveled from Calcutta via Singapore to apply for a visa to visit
Taiwan while here.

But he was detained at the airport for several hours and allowed to
make only a two-minute call to his cousin and Hong Kong resident
Phurba Sherpa before being sent back to Singapore.

An Immigration Department spokesman said the commissioner could
refuse entry to non- residents if necessary and that several factors
are taken into account.

But Phurba Sherpa is not satisfied, alleging that his cousin was
targeted because he is Tibetan and a Buddhist.

"Because of things happening in Hong Kong and China, the authorities
are targeting our religion and race," said Phurba Sherpa, 40.

"They think we are a risk -- traitors or against China or something.
We are simple people living and working in Hong Kong. My cousin is a
simple monk.

"Is this a free country? We need to speak out about this. I don't
crave the spotlight, but as a Hong Kong resident I deserve an answer
as to why he was sent back so the next time we can do something about
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