Boat people transfer begins

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 September, 1996, 12:00am

Security forces breathed a sigh of relief yesterday after an operation to move 5,500 Vietnamese boat people across the territory got off to a trouble-free start.

An advance party of 400 boat people were transferred 50 kilometres by ferry and truck from Tai A Chau off Lantau to Whitehead, near Sha Tin. They will prepare the camp for the arrival of 5,100 fellow detainees next week.

Five police patrol boats, four launches and two fireboats were on standby at the remote island as boarding began at 8.30 am.

The two open ferries were each escorted by two patrol boats and two launches in case anyone tried to jump overboard.

Police officers stood guard on the upper and lower decks during the two-hour voyage to Stonecutter's Island, where the Vietnamese boarded trucks for Whitehead.