Sudden flood of boat people alarms Australia
Thursday 29 December 1994
Alarmed Australian officials have been warned that thousands more may be on their way over the next few weeks, before the monsoon season sets in.
The latest boat to arrive, a cramped converted fishing vessel carrying more than 70 men, women and children, was the fourth such boat to land in Darwin in the past week. Together the boats contained 315 asylum seekers. All had set out from the southern port of Beihai to make the perilous three-week, 2,800-mile voyage across the South China Sea.
When immigration officials boarded the latest vessel a few miles off Darwin, they found among the passengers an 80-year-old woman suffering from exposure. Most other passengers appeared to be well.
The wave of departures from Beihai, near China's border with Vietnam, appears to have been sparked by the clearing for urban redevelopment of many areas of southern China to which ethnic Chinese fled from Vietnam in the late Seventies. Marion Le, president of the Indo-Chinese Refugee Association of Australia, said: "It's a human tragedy caused by the Chinese destroying the housing of Vietnamese Chinese. Vietnam refuses to take them back, so they're taking to boats to get away from China altogether. Australia could face up to 20,000 more arrivals."
Chinese entrepreneurs are believed to be selling boat space to such people, enticing them to head for the "lucky country" where jobs and welfare are supposedly waiting.
The past week's arrivals brought to 930 the number of boat people from Asia, mostly Chinese, who have landed in Australia this year. It is more than twice the number in the previous two years combined.
Nick Bolkus, the Australian Minister for Immigration, said yesterday that Canberra wanted to send a "strong message" to the Chinese: "These people have no right to impose themselves on Australian shores. We're saying to the Chinese officials that there is a responsibility to ensure that those who are profiting from this racket don't continue to do so."
One-third of the boat people who have arrived in the past three years have been granted refugee residence, while the rest have been deported or are still in detention.
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...