• Short Summary

    A US Navy frigate arrived in Hong Kong today (24 August) with 418 Vietnamese boat refugees.

  • Description

    A US Navy frigate arrived in Hong Kong today (24 August) with 418 Vietnamese boat refugees.

    Its the largest single group to come to the colony since the end of the Indochina War in 1975.

    SYNOPSIS: Hong Kong marine police kept a careful watch as the USS Whipple anchored it itself in mid-harbour.

    The refugees, which outnumbered the Whipple's crew of 260 by nearly two to one, were saved two days ago in a dramatic rescue operation just before their fishing junk sank in the South China Sea.

    American Consular officials said the refugees, aged from one to 95, were winched aboard in heavy seas during a torrential downpour.

    Immigration and health officials spent over two hours processing the new arrivals before allowing them to board a special ferry taking them ashore.

    Because the Whipple was on a routine visit to Hong Kong, the authorities have agreed to grant the refugees three month temporary visas before they are re-settled elsewhere. The Colony's standby policy is to allow only those refugees picked up by vessels having Hong Kong as their first port of call.

    The frigate's arrival has stretched the colony's immigration department to the limit.

    Only hours before, a police launch picked up 157 other Vietnamese refugees who came in aboard a fishing boat.

    So far this year, nearly three thousand refugees from Vietnam have landed in Hong Kong.

    The Government, already grappling with an upsurge in immigrants from China, recently expressed concern over the number of Vietnamese refugees making their way to the colony.

    During their stay in Hong Kong, the refugees will be cared for by the United Nations High commission for Refugees.

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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    Available on request
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