Whitehead detention centre closed yesterday after the last batch of Vietnamese illegal immigrants was moved to the High Island camp. High Island is now the only Vietnamese centre left, accommodating about 370 Vietnamese migrants and 1,056 illegal immigrants - including the 276 from Whitehead. The Vietnamese were ferried out in 10 trucks from the Ma On Shan centre on the shore of Tolo Harbour at about 10.30 am. The debris of their eight-year occupation included piles of rubbish spread over the playground, and torn textbooks and papers strewn near a classroom. Cockroaches ran riot in the dormitory where towels, cups and wastepaper had been abandoned on bunk-beds. About 200 Correctional Services Department staff will spend a month at the centre cleaning up and removing documents. A preliminary plan has been completed to convert the 45-hectare Whitehead site into a residential, recreation and conservation area. The detention centre was opened in 1989, with the population reaching its peak of about 22,000 in 1990-91. With the declining Vietnamese population, the Government has been closing detention centres since last year. Tai A Chau was closed in September, the main Whitehead camp closed in January and the Kai Tak transit centre ceased operation in March. Government Refugee Co-ordinator Sally Wong Pik-yee, who observed the clearance yesterday, said she would visit Vietnam in the next few weeks to discuss increasing the tempo of repatriation. She said most of the Vietnamese illegals had been stranded in Hong Kong for almost six months, pending Hanoi's verification of their identities. 'The process takes several months. It is not satisfactory and we want to speed up the repatriation,' she said. 'Immediate repatriation, like we are doing with Chinese illegal immigrants, would be an ideal situation. 'Unlike the Chinese illegals, we cannot send back the Vietnamese by trains or cars. 'We hope we can strike a deal to send back the illegals in, say, one or two weeks.' Ms Wong said she hoped she could visit Vietnam before the handover, but a date had not been fixed.