The last time the gates closed at Whitehead detention centre

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 June, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 June, 1998, 12:00am

Prison officers close the gates for the last time at Whitehead detention centre near Ma On Shan.

The infamous camp housed a maximum of 22,000 asylum-seekers during its eight-year life and witnessed hunger strikes and rioting. In April, 1994, security forces launched a dawn raid to remove 1,500 Vietnamese boat people, sparking a riot in which 250 rounds of tear-gas were fired and more than 300 inmates injured, some beaten by guards.

In 1996 about 100 detainees escaped during another riot. China, insisting the boat people were a colonial problem, wanted all the camps cleared by the handover.