Man fights refusal of refugee status

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 12:00am

A Chinese-Vietnamese man who says he was denied recognition by the Vietnamese Government is fighting a ruling that he is not entitled to Hong Kong refugee status.

Luu The Truong, 35, who won a battle to be screened for possible refugee status in September 1998, filed a High Court writ yesterday claiming the ultimate decision to deny him the status was unlawful.

He is seeking to quash the Refugee Status Review Board's decision on March 26 which supported the Director of Immigration's determination that he was not a refugee.

He is also seeking to overturn the Director of Immigration's decisions on April 18 and May 7 to detain him pending his removal from Hong Kong.

In the 37-page writ, Truong's solicitors argue that the Vietnamese Government's refusal to allow him to register his household would place 'serious restrictions on his rights to earn his livelihood'.

Citing UN High Commissioner for Refugees guidelines, the writ states: 'In principle, a person without ho khau [household registration] cannot enjoy basic rights of Vietnamese citizenship.'

It says that in rare cases, deprivation of ho khau alone can lead to recognition as a refugee.

Truong fled to China in 1984 after the outbreak of the Sino-Vietnamese war, but sought asylum in Hong Kong in April 1990 after the mainland Government forbade any ethnic Chinese from Vietnam from receiving household registration.

On May 27, 1999, after being held in administrative detention by the Director of Immigration from 1990 to 1997, Truong returned to Vietnam with his children under the voluntary repatriation scheme because he had no option, the writ states.

Three days later, he and his children were detained and requests to the Public Security Office to return his house and allow household registration were refused, the writ says.

'The authorities clearly indicated that the applicant was not welcome,' it says.