A group of 205 Vietnamese boat people voluntarily traded life in Hong Kong's crowded camps for a return to Hanoi Wednesday amid efforts to launch a new non-voluntary return program before the end of November.

The group boarded a chartered jet bound for their homeland, raising to 4,899 the number of boat people who have returned through the U.N.-sponsored voluntary repatriation program.It was the largest group of voluntary returnees since August - a fact which some observers attributed to a new multilateral agreement to repatriate boat people who did not volunteer but did not object to returning.

The scheme was a compromise bid to aid Hong Kong in emptying its cramped detention centers, which are home to about 54,000 refugees.