REFUGEE Concern has supported calls to scrap Hong Kong's status as a port of first asylum, saying the 16-year policy is racist and inhumane. The group's statement came after Liberal Party legislator Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee scheduled a motion debate on the subject in tomorrow's Legislative Council meeting. Hong Kong and several other Southeast Asian countries adopted the policy in 1979, under a United Nations agreement, when the flood of Vietnamese refugees peaked at 224,500 a year. Refugee Concern chairman Tony Leung Tak-on said the policy might encourage asylum-seekers who had no genuine prospect of being recognised as refugees. 'To our knowledge, no one arriving in the past two years has been recognised as a refugee. New arrivals have simply languished in detention centres,' Mr Leung said. The Government has been screening Vietnamese arrivals since June 1988. Those screened out are treated as illegal immigrants and listed for repatriation. Since 1988, 6,855 people - or 11.5 per cent of the arrivals - have been screened in as refugees, while 52,850 have been screened out. There are 20,571 boat people and 1,483 refugees in Hong Kong. Without the policy, 'any Vietnamese who could demonstrate on arrival that they have valid claims to refugee status would be treated in the same way as persons of all other nationalities', Mr Leung said. 'That is, they would be interviewed by a UNHCR officer who will determine whether they are refugees. 'The present farce involves only Vietnamese going through an elaborate and expensive screening process simply because they are Vietnamese.' The Government has spent about $1 billion caring for migrants and refugees. Director of Audit Dominic Chan Yin-tat recently expressed strong concerns over the repayment of the debt by the United Nations. The motion raised by Mrs Chow urges the Government to 'abolish as soon as possible Hong Kong's status as a port of first asylum' and to announce a 'timetable for the complete resolution of the Vietnamese migrants problem'. She said recent developments, including normalisation of relations between the United States and Vietnam and the slow progress of the voluntary repatriation programme, made it the right time to drop the policy.