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Hong Kong Immigration Protests Intensify

In Hong Kong, angry people who are seeing their families split apart by immigration laws are intensifying their protests.

The Hong Kong Immigration Department remained heavily guarded for the second day in a row as angry demonstrators hurled abuse at security forces. Tuesday, the crowd tried to force its way into the department's high-rise office tower.

The crowds, consisting of mostly elderly protesters, are furious that their relatives may soon be deported. They scuffled with police officers.

Hong Kong officials say that there are still more than 4,000 people who must return to mainland China under a January court ruling.

The would-be immigrants moved to Hong Kong illegally from the mainland to join their parents, who came here years ago. Many deportees have elderly parents or children in Hong Kong and worry about who will care for them. Some have lived in Hong Kong for several years and no longer have homes in China.

The government has ordered illegal entrants to return to China to wait for a legal permit to enter the city. The court ruling in January ended most of the migrants' appeals to stay.

A grace period during which the migrants were to have returned to China voluntarily ended in early April. Since then, protests against the government policy have gradually stepped up. A few days ago, one woman attempted suicide by slashing her wrists in front of immigration officials after being told she would be deported.

There have been protests outside a jail where some deportees are being held, and some protestors have gone on fasts.

Others have started fresh litigation against the government in an effort to delay deportation.

Hong Kong security and immigration officials have warned that about 2,000 residency seekers will be removed in upcoming weeks. Several already have been forcefully repatriated to mainland China, but others have left on their own accord.