Ex-Viet detainees sue

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 April, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 April, 2002, 12:00am

Seventy-four former Vietnamese inmates of the now-defunct Whitehead detention centre are suing the Government over loss of their property during a dawn riot six years ago.

The plaintiffs placed valuables such as gold items and cash in the care of Correctional Services officers, according to a High Court writ.

The property, details of which were not given, was said to have been either burned beyond repair or otherwise damaged on May 16, 1996, when hundreds of the 7,973 boat people at Whitehead rampaged through the camp, torching buildings and cars.

The property was stored in an administration building damaged by fire, the writ says.

The former inmates allege the damage was due to negligence on the part of the Government and/or breach of duty of care.

The writ stated that some property was salvaged and identified as belonging to the plaintiffs, but nothing had been returned. The former inmates want the remaining property back and unspecified compensation.

The Secretary for Justice has been named as the defendant on behalf of the Commissioner for Correctional Services.