Witness sought to move

A VIETNAMESE key witness in an aborted murder trial repeatedly sought refuge in section two of Whitehead detention centre in the hope of getting refugee status, the Commission of Inquiry heard yesterday.

Mr Dennis Law Shiu-ming, counsel for the Correctional Services Department, said Mr Bui Van Xuan made the requests because the main witness in an earlier murder trial was given refugee status after being held there.

Mr Bui, who now lives at the High Island centre, was appearing before the Commission of Inquiry into the aborted trial and the issue of witness protection.

His refusal to testify on grounds that he was not offered adequate protection by the Government led to the acquittal of the suspect. It has been Mr Bui's case that he would be safer in section two of Whitehead.

Mr Bui said he was aware that the key witness in an unrelated murder trial was kept in a safe house until the end of the trial, then moved to section two before later migrating to a third country.

But Mr Bui vehemently denied that this was the reason he had repeatedly asked to be kept in section two.

He said the police's failure to provide him with any protection was the reason for the requests.

The hearing continues.