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

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

The British Government asserts 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. [1]

In 2000, the British Government asserts 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." [2]

In 2005, the British Consulate-General Hong Kong advertised 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. [3]

There have been instances that have cast some doubt regarding the availability 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 had traveled 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[citation needed] in Bombay without seeking verification from the relevant authorities (British Consulate-General) in Hong Kong.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] It was found that his BN(O) passport was genuine.[4] [5] ([6] pp. 22–25) Pursuant to this issue, the British authorities have upgraded all British passports regardless of type to include enhanced security features such as digitized photographs and signatures, and electronic security features that have made requests for verification by foreign immigration officers by the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong far less necessary/frequent.

In 1999. Mr Wu, a BN(O) who was a Hong Kong resident, was 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.[citation needed] No formal extradition hearing was held for him because, say the Thai authorities, “he didn’t ask for it”.[citation needed] They also claimed that Mr Wu, went willingly to China.[citation needed] 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, 25 November 1999)

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