Another 234 Vietnamese boat people sailed into Hong Kong on Friday aboard six boats, bringing to more than 5,600 the number who arrived in this British colony this year, officials said.
More than 1,400 Vietnamese arrived this month, forcing the government to set up tents at a detention center because of a lack of accommodations, the officials said.Hong Kong Secretary for Security Geoffrey Barnes said he believed Hanoi was allowing the exodus to achieve "benefits" at the international conference on Indochinese refugees in Geneva next month.
Barnes said he expects 11,000 Vietnamese boat people to arrive in the colony in the coming months.
There are more than 30,000 Vietnamese boat people in Hong Kong. More than half arrived after the Hong Kong government introduced a tough policy in June under which the Vietnamese are regarded as illegal immigrants unless they can prove they fled Vietnam because of persecution.
In March, 75 Vietnamese from the colony returned voluntarily to Vietnam in the first large-scale repatriation. Vietnam has so far refused to consider forcible repatriation of Vietnamese from this territory.