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Repatriated Viet seeks medical aid

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 December, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 December, 1995, 12:00am

THE disabled man who staged a lone protest to stall Wednesday's forced repatriation flight from Hong Kong at Hanoi airport is seeking government funds for further treatment, saying he was crippled after a beating by police.

Tran Huu Chinh said he was forced back to Vietnam without being able to appeal against a rejection of his bid for compensation following an incident at High Island camp in 1991.

'I fear that there is no way I can live in Vietnam with my injuries,' Mr Chinh said yesterday as he waited to be sent to his home province Ha Tinh, one of Vietnam's poorest.

'I will never get a job to be able to feed myself or get treatment. My life has been ruined. There was no justice.

'I do not know what will happen to me, I have lost all contact with my family. I don't even know if my mother is still alive.' Mr Chinh yesterday appealed to British embassy officials for funds for future medical treatment.

Mr Chinh claimed that his legs were damaged for good when he was beaten after escaping from High Island camp in 1991.

He had fled Vietnam a year earlier to escape 'boredom and poverty' in Vietnam's central regions.

'My nerves are gone, my legs are withered and will never be the same after that beating,' he said, pointing with his crutches to heavily strapped ankles.

'The camps were terrible. There was no future. I climbed the wall and fled. They caught me after several days and held me in jail for two months.

'The police insisted I had cut a hole in the fence to escape, I denied this and then they beat me.' An embassy spokesman refused to comment on details, saying checks were under way in Hong Kong. Unofficially, embassy sources claim Mr Chinh had been properly dealt with before he left.

One source confirmed Mr Chinh was injured in 1991 but a cause had not been found. The Legal Aid Department had not denied him an appeal but had refused to assist him because it believed his claims were without foundation.