Raided Viets in deportation protest
By SCOTT McKENZIE
AN SOS signal was hoisted at the High Island Vietnamese detention centre yesterday by a group of people who probably have more cause for distress than any among the 24,000 Vietnamese asylum-seekers left in the territory.
They were the target group of 1,500 people subjected to a tear-gas attack on April 7 at the Whitehead detention centre in an effort to move them to High Island, where they now live in the North Camp.
Yesterday they posted banners, chanted protests, and marched around the perimeter in a 90-minute show of solidarity against what they claim is a government push for their premature repatriation.
Announcements have been made regularly in the camp telling the Vietnamese to volunteer for repatriation or face deportation on the next government repatriation programme airlift.
However, many of the group have outstanding claims of assault against Correctional Services Department (CSD) officers, made in the wake of the Whitehead raid.
A police report on their allegations has been in the hands of the Legal Department for several weeks, but no charges have been laid.
Others in the North Camp are concerned that they have not heard the result of claims they made for possessions they lost in the April 7 transfer.
No date has been set for the next repatriation flight but it is understood the Government is eager to restart the programme this month.