In Malaysia, Canadian and French officials have been interviewing Vietnamese who arrived off the Malaysian coast aboard the freighter Hai Hong on November 9th.
GV Refugee camp with groups of refugees. (3 SHOTS)
SV Woman rests in hammock.
GV Washing hanging from trees.
GV Security officer walking through refugee camp.
GV Lorries PAN TO refugee shelters.
SV Blackboard PULL OUT TO GV of children.
GV Refugees milling around ZOOM INTO men seated at table.
GV PULL OUT TO LV Harbour with vessel in port.
SV Night scene as Canadian delegation walks from harbour. (2 SHOTS)
CU Canadian team leader Mr. Ian Hamilton speaking in English.
CHRISMAN: "I wonder if you could elaborate on what you see as the conditions?"
HAMILTON:"Well, we were not allowed aboard the Hai Hong itself. We interviewed in a minesweeper that was about 200 yards away from the Hai Hong. But, leaving tonight we were given the opportunity to have a close pass by the ship and it is very, very crowded. Very, very crowded."
CHRISMAN:"How desperate are the people wanting to get off the ship? I mean, they are talking to you aren't they?"
HAMILTON:"Certainly they are talking to me. We are here to select them to go to our country. That was the purpose of the entire team being here. I think they are very, very eager to get off the ship."
CHRISMAN:"And what are you looking for in the applicants? I understand that you have already chosen 175 to go to Canada on Saturday."
HAMILTON:"In fact we have completed our selection. We've got 604 as of this evening, and they will be going out in a series of four flights over the next week. The first one will be leaving on Saturday."
REPORTER: MICHAEL CHRISMAN
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Malaysia, Canadian and French officials have been interviewing Vietnamese who arrived off the Malaysian coast aboard the freighter Hai Hong on November 9th. The Malaysian Government has refused to acknowledge that the 2,500 Vietnamese aboard are genuine refugees, and has insisted that all be taken by other countries. Canada and France were the first nation to take positive steps to relieve the plight of those on board the Hai Hong.
SYNOPSIS: There are already 40,000 refugees in camps along the coast, and Malaysian authorities estimate more than 700 have been arriving each day for the past few weeks. There is no sign of a let-up despite monsoon weather sweeping the South China Sea. Now, the Malaysian Government, which says it is pushed to the limit in its assistance for the refugees, has announced tough measures to cope with what it calls the 'illegal' immigrants. The Government says vietnamese who pay for their passage out of the country, cannot be called genuine refugees.
Malaysia plans a special task force to prevent the refugees landing, to supervise transit camps, and to organise their resettlement in other countries. There is still no decision about the future of more than half those still aboard the Hai Hong. The leader of the Canadian team at Port Klang, Mr. Ian Hamilton described the problems to Michael Chrisman of Visnews.