Two transgender women have been refused access to Hong Kong after immigration officers did not believe they were there to see sights and shop.
The pair who travelled from Bangkok, Thailand were told by immigration officers in Hong Kong International Airport that they did not satisfy the purpose of their holiday.
The women were visiting the city with the intention of sight seeing and shopping but their visit was rejected by officials at the immigration department. The pair were then also asked to sign documents concerning their gender.
They were asked to sign two documents; one confirming they had completed full gender reassignment surgery and one to confirm they would voluntarily go back to Thailand immediately. They pair refused to sign the documents and returned to Bangkok.
A lawyer representing one of the woman, Jonathan Man Ho-Ching said he “could not rule out the possibility of prejudice and discrimination” and said “there was a lack of understanding of different sexes and genders.”
The woman were also asked by officers if they were “cut already”, referring to their gender re-assignment surgery.
The two women have previously travelled to Switzerland, Spain, Taiwan and South Korea.
Joanne Leung Wing-yan, Chairwoman of the Transgender Resource Centre, argued that the pairs travel history gave “no reason to ask them to deny them access.”
“I just hope there will be a different kind of treatment and understanding for transgender people” said Wing-yan.
A spokesperson for the Immigration Department said the tourists were “suspicious” and “failed to satisfy that they were genuine travellers.”
A rights group has since urged authorities to treat transgender people with more respect.