Boat people face uncertain future as last refugee camp closes

 The last remaining Vietnamese refugee camp in Hong Kong - Pilar Point - was closed this week. But Catholic missionaries working in the area report that about 100 people are refusing to leave, saying that they have nowhere to go and cannot afford the high rents in the city. They have been given a short grace period. But the government warns that if they do not leave soon they will be evicted by force. An estimated 200,000 refugees arrived in Hong Kong following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Many of them were given permission to resettle in countries in the West. About a third were repatriated to Vietnam, some by force. The remaining refugees have remained in the camps, in extremely cramped conditions ever since they arrived. Some have been stranded for many years, unable to leave the camps and unable to find a country that would accept them. In February 1999, the local government gave Hong Kong residency to all the 1,400 Vietnamese refugees still in the territory.

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