The Hong Kong Government is to spend nearly eight million pounds sterling (sixteen million U.S.?
The Hong Kong Government is to spend nearly eight million pounds sterling (sixteen million U.S. dollars) to feed and house the flood of Vietnamese refugees who have sought a haven in Hong Kong. There are now fifty-seven thousand refugees in the city and more arrive every day. A major problem for the Government is what to do with the boats in which the refugees arrive. They clog the busy harbour and many of them are unseaworthy. Most end on a funeral pyre.
SYNOPSIS: These are just some of the thousands of Vietnamese 'boat people' which the Hong Kong Government has to dal with. They arrive in junks and other small boats, or on large ships which have had to rescue them at sea. Many of them stay aboard these vessels for weeks before being allowed to land. Life aboard is cramped and harsh. Ashore, at least they can walk about. Most of the fifty-seven thousand who have landed are housed in unused warehouses or similar large buildings.
This is the colony's junk's graveyard -- Gin Drinkers Bay. The government has spent nearly one hundred thousand pounds (about two hundred thousand U.S. dollars) destroying unseaworthy boats. They are periodically towed from the harbour and beached here.
The end for the boats is colourful -- and final. Oil is poured over them and then they are burned. Two hundred of these boats were destroyed last week.
The Government says the boats take up too much space to be anchored in the harbour and with the typhoon season approaching they could be an additional hazard to shipping. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong authorities are cracking-down on illegal immigrants. New legislation means that naval units will be able to stop and search vessels suspected of carrying refugees. But in Hong Kong, immigrants come not only from the sea, but also by land -- from across the border in China.
These men are British soldiers. They are the first batch of a thousand men from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who have been sent to Hong Kong to bolster security along the Chinese border. Hundreds of Chinese try to cross each day. Most are caught and sent back, but many manage to get through. Already this year forty-five thousand have been sent back, but it's estimated that one hundred thousand more have eluded the constant patrols and now live in the colony.
The Chinese have stepped-up their border patrols - these men will do the same in Hong Kong.