§ Lord Gainford
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is the present position regarding Vietnamese migrants in Hong Kong.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (The Earl of Caithness)
On 10th December, 28 Vietnamese illegal immigrants were repatriated from Hong Kong to Vietnam. This is the second repatriation since the announcement on 29th October of the signtature by the British, Hong Kong and Vietnamese Governments of a statement of understanding on principles relating to the return of Vietnamese illegal immigrants from Hong Kong.
The group of 28 comprised 12 who arrived in Hong Kong after 29th October and 16 double-backers—i.e., those who, having returned to Vietnam once, thereby benefiting from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cash assistance, have entered Hong Kong illegally a second time.
All the double-backers were re-screened. The 12 new arrivals also underwent the full screening and appeal procedure and were found not to be refugees and eventually volunteered to return to Vietnam. The repatriation was carried out in accordance with international practices and the internationally agreed Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA), in particular the provision that all those found not to be refugees should return to their country of origin. More than 12,500 Vietnamese have returned to Vietnam from Hong Kong under the UNHCR-run voluntary repatriation scheme. We hope that all Vietnamese illegal immigrants will volunteer to return but recognise that there will be some who will not. It will therefore be necessary from time to time for further repatriation flights to be arranged. There has not been a single substantiated case of persecution of any of the returnees.