77 Viets at camp apply for ID cards

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 February, 2000, 12:00am

A TOTAL of 77 Vietnamese have applied for residency in the SAR, a senior official said yesterday.

Deputy Secretary for Security Timothy Tong Hin-ming said 44 refugees and 33 migrants in Pillar Point camp in Tuen Mun had registered on Friday.

Speaking on a Commercial Radio phone-in programme, Mr Tong said he was happy with the progress.

'It is commonly viewed that the boat people will accept the offer as they have no chance to emigrate, while the refugees may not agree as they still have some chances to move to Western countries. Anyway, this is a good development,' he said.

Mr Tong was confident that all 1,400 Vietnamese in the camp would take identity cards and integrate into Hong Kong society when the camp closed in May.

He said officials would hold seminars in the camp later this week to inform migrants on arrangements on jobs, housing, social welfare and education.

The Government last week announced the Vietnamese were to be given identity cards to end the 25-year boat people saga. They will have six weeks to decide whether to accept the offer.

The official stressed the Government would continue to request the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees to repay the $1.16 billion it had cost to run the camp.

The Government would not give up even if its chances were not that good, he said.