Detained Viets heading to Japan

Mark Hughes

A CONTINGENT of Vietnamese migrants from China was picked up in Hong Kong waters yesterday claiming to be heading towards Japan.

The boat, containing 29 men, eight women and five children, was spotted close to Cheung Chau by officers of the police marine division.

According to the Police Public Relations Branch, the migrants asked for fuel, fresh water and food. They did not seek asylum.

The boat people were escorted to Tai A Chau, where their vessel was moored overnight.

More than 2,000 ethnic Vietnamese from China have entered Hong Kong waters since July 1.

China has yet to make a formal response to the British and Hong Kong Governments, which are seeking the repatriation of ethnic Vietnamese Chinese who have sought refugee status in the territory.

Macau Marine Police arrested 191 illegal immigrants last month, about 40 per cent less than in July last year.

Statistics showed that 143 men and 48 women were arrested.