Warning of resistance at Viet camp

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 November, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 November, 1995, 12:00am

SECURITY forces have been warned to expect organised resistance today when they remove 220 Vietnamese from High Island detention centre.

The operation is the first to target south Vietnamese - who are believed to be more committed to remaining in Hong Kong than their northern countrymen.

Demonstrations against today's action began at High Island yesterday.

'Our belief is that the southerners are more united in their efforts with a broad base of support in the south camp,' a senior Correctional Services Department official said yesterday.

'We have instructed officers to take care and expect a strong commitment from most people in the camp.' It is believed the southerners have a better chance of resettlement under the United States' Track Two proposals.

Track Two provides for the voluntary return of boat people to Vietnam. There they would be screened by US immigration officials to identify people likely to be persecuted if they remained.

These would include people with links to the former south Vietnamese government or military.

Many southerners in Hong Kong claim such links. But if they were returned under the deportation programme they would be ineligible for Track Two.

However, the US proposal has not been approved by Hanoi and while talks go on, Hong Kong has vowed to continue deportations.

About 300 officers of the department's Emergency Support Group will be deployed to remove any boat people resisting removal today. They will be supported by about 800 police officers.

Past operations at the High Island and Whitehead camps have involved violent confrontations between boat people and security forces. Tear-gas has been fired frequently.

The targets of today's operation will be taken to the Victoria Prison for medical checks and immigration processing. They will leave on December 6 and 13.

For the first time, Continental Micronesia will provide aircraft and crew for the deportation flights.

It agreed to fill the void left by Royal Brunei Airlines which withdrew because of lengthy and expensive delays in removing deportees.

On Monday, before the deportation flights, government Refugee Co-ordinator Brian Bresnihan will hold talks with Vietnamese authorities in Hanoi.