National Geographic : 1962 Jan
in their waning years. But the able-bodied men are few. Only the ones who are of little value to the Red regime can escape so easily. Three Hong Kong policemen stood at the barricade, patiently interviewing the people one by one. A Cantonese accent, as evidence of Kwangtung residence, and reasonable as surance that they would not become public charges, were usually enough to get them through. Technically they came as visitors. Once in, they rarely returned to Red China. We made our way back to the station plat form on the Hong Kong side, past clumps of people chattering happily and shouldering bundles slung from poles. Going the other way through the crowd, back toward the frontier, came three Hong Kong policemen; behind them, handcuffed in pairs, walked eight young Chinese. I asked if I were imag ining the frightened look on their faces. "I should think not," the inspector said. "They're chaps we caught in the hills, sneak ing in. It seems hardhearted not to let them stay. But with a million newcomers already in Hong Kong, we can't just open the gates to anyone who wants to slip across the border. So, if we catch them before they can disap pear into the city, back they go." Far from thinking it hardhearted, I mar veled anew at the humanity of Hong Kong's KODACHROMESBY JOHN SCOFIELD, NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSTAFF © N.G.S.