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Longer Macao-Zhuhai border opening hours expected

THE daily opening hours of the Macao-Zhuhai Barrier Gate checkpoint are expected to be extended by two or three hours by the end of this year or early next year, the Macao Post Daily reported yesterday.

    The newspaper quoted Lao Pun Lap, head of Macao’s Policy Research Office, as saying that the proposal of extending the opening hours of the checkpoint would be discussed between Guangdong’s provincial government and the government of Macao Special Administrative Region before its submission to the Central Government for approval.

    Currently, the Barrier Gate is closed between midnight and 7 a.m. and Macao cars without a doubled registration plates (Macao and mainland) are still barred from being driven into the mainland.

    Lao said the first meeting between Guangdong and Macao will be held next month and both sides have already agreed to put the extension of the checkpoint’s opening hours and regulations for cars with Macao registration plates to be driven into Hengqin Island under the jurisdiction of Guangdong on this year’s agenda for bilateral meetings.

    According to Lao, there have been many suggestions about extending the border checkpoint opening hours by two to three hours over the years.

    Macao government officials have previously indicated that the ultimate goal is to have 24-hour border checkpoint operations.

    Lao said that since extending the checkpoint’s opening hours concerned the lifestyle and economic activities of residents on both sides of the border, a consensus on the matter was needed between Guangdong and Macao.