Rioters 'were singled out to face charges'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 February, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 February, 1997, 12:00am

The authorities 'picked out' five boat people to face riot charges as a way of getting rid of political troublemakers, their lawyer claimed yesterday.

Defence counsel Michael Poll suggested his five clients were too far away for Correctional Services Department officers to accurately identify them in the early-morning light.

Of the hundreds of protesters who rampaged through Whitehead detention centre on May 10, five were charged and have pleaded not guilty.

By identifying the five defendants - Tong Van Phuc, 51, Vu Ngoc Quyen, 50, Nguyen Huu Tai, 50, Ngo Ba Dai, 42 and To Manh Tien, 42 - the authorities were 'conveniently' ridding themselves of troublemakers, Mr Poll said.

District Court Deputy Judge Garry Tallentire will visit the detention centre tomorrow to retrace the path of protesters.



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