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AFP
January 18, 2020

Hong Kong airline made woman take pregnancy test

World

AFP
January 18, 2020

HONG KONG: A Hong Kong airline forced a Japanese woman to take a pregnancy test before allowing her on a flight to a Pacific island popular with mothers seeking US citizenship for their babies.

Midori Nishida, 25, was escorted to a public toilet at Hong Kong airport and told to urinate on a strip in November before being granted permission to board her Hong Kong Express flight to the US territory of Saipan.

She had declared in a questionnaire at check-in that she was not pregnant but airline staff nevertheless requested she undergo a "fit-to-fly" assessment designed for women with a body size or shape resembling a pregnant woman. The test result came up negative. "It was very humiliating and frustrating," Nishida told the Wall Street Journal.

She grew up on Saipan and her family have lived on the island for more than 20 years. The airline apologised to Nishida and said the practice had been discontinued when contacted by AFP. "We have immediately suspended the practice while we review it. We´d like to apologise for the distress caused," the airline said in a statement.

Hong Kong Express said it had taken "action on flights to Saipan from February 2019 to help ensure US immigration laws were not being undermined", in response to concerns raised by the island´s authorities. "We recognise the significant concerns this practice has caused," it said.