Put an end to island gulag

A FEW weeks ago several hundred Vietnamese detainees were taken out of a section of Whitehead Detention Centre, in what is believed to be a prelude to their forced repatriation to Vietnam.

Many of them were then shipped to the Green Island Reception Centre, a small concrete compound with half a dozen brick sheds surrounded by wire fences.

Green Island was the first British land fall for most arriving Vietnamese asylum seekers. It was not a friendly welcome. They were sprayed with a delousing substance, the women had their long hair cut off and they were given a number and had a mugshot taken.

Now Green Island is the final ''deterrent'' zone for stubborn Vietnamese who refuse to ''volunteer'' to return to the communist society from which they escaped.

Green Island, with very little open space, was only designed to provide temporary holding accommodation for three or four days. The last batch of transferees being softened up for repatriation was kept there for more than three months.

There are no visiting facilities so that detainees can have no direct contact with their friends, relatives or lawyer (if they have one).


Hongkong has never really disguised the fact that it treats Vietnamese asylum seekers like prisoners of war. This final act of degradation, prior to forced repatriation, is a cruel and unnecessary inhumanity.

I appeal to the Government, please stop using Green Island as a gulag. MICHAEL T. DARWYNE Central