China’s State Council has given the green light to a law extending Macau’s jurisdiction to part of the newly-built boundary checkpoint between Hengqin island and Macau – known as Hengqin Port – starting after the stroke of midnight of Wednesday, March 18. The official launch date of the new checkpoint however is yet to be announced, pending a decision by the Guangdong and Macau governments.
That is an official response by the State Council, dated March 2, but was only published in Macau’s official dispatch on Tuesday.
According to a State Council’s statement dated March 2 – and published in Macau’s official dispatch on Tuesday – Macau’s jurisdiction is now extended to the passenger clearance building of the Hengqin Port, covering a total area of 66,428 square metres (715,025 sq feed). It includes the passenger clearance terminal, the surrounding traffic channels, a transport hub as well as part of access road to the Lotus Bridge that connects Hengqin island to Macau.
The designated area at the new Hengqin checkpoint was leased by Macau from the mainland Chinese authorities starting from March 18 until December 19, 2049. There would be an option to renew the lease after that date. Other parts of the Hengqin Port would come under Macau’s jurisdiction once they are launched, with their respective lease valid until December 19, 2049.
An enabling local law that allows Macau to have jurisdiction and responsibility for running the new Hengqin checkpoint is to come into effect on Wednesday (March 18), according to an official dispatch. Such arrangement was first authorised by the standing committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) in late October.
The city’s Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon told local reporters last month that the opening of the Hengqin Port had been postponed beyond the first quarter of this year. The official explained at the time that the delay was related with efforts to contain the spread locally of the Covid-19 virus, which halted the simulation tests needed before opening the new Hengqin checkpoint.
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