Belgium gave homes to 27 Vietnamese refugees stranded in Hong Kong yesterday as security officials considered scrapping the 18-year-old port-of-first-asylum policy. Belgium's resettlement pledge came after SAR officials had urged the international community to help the boat people at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) executive committee meeting in Geneva last month. The Vietnamese flew to Belgium yesterday. A total of 450 Vietnamese refugees have been resettled in countries including the United States, Britain and Norway so far this year. Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, who returned yesterday from the APEC summit, said he had appealed to other leaders in Vancouver to help resettle the SAR's 1,256 Vietnamese refugees. 'On the Vietnamese boat people, of course every country has their own considerations. But I thought it would be useful if I made the appeal anyway,' he said. Security officials are now considering amending the Immigration Ordinance to scrap the port-of-first-asylum policy introduced in 1979. 'We are keeping our mind open on the matter. We'll make a decision on whether to scrap it after balancing all the factors,' a senior official said. Provisional legislators voted in August that the policy which allowed Vietnamese boat people to stay while awaiting a permanent home in a third country should be dropped. A Security Bureau spokesman said Hong Kong's role had been completed with the end of the Comprehensive Plan of Action in June last year. Only five Vietnamese boat people have sought asylum so far this year and all have been screened out as non-refugees. A decision on first asylum is expected next month. Advocacy groups said scrapping the policy would simply reflect current practice, but some said they would welcome it as confirmation that Vietnamese would no longer receive special treatment. Robyn Kilpatrick of Amnesty International Hong Kong said the SAR Government should ensure there was adequate protection for anyone who came to Hong Kong fleeing persecution. The head of the Hong Kong UNHCR mission, Jean-Noel Wetterwald, said he believed Hong Kong would remain a safe haven.