first group of Vietnamese “boat people” to be repatriated voluntarily from Hong Kong flew into Hanoi on Thursday night, some saying they were happy to be back but many looking apprehensive.
Blinking nervously in the glare of television lights as they were greeted by Vietnamese officials and Western diplomats, 75 people clambered out of the chartered Boeing 737 airliner.
The repatriation took place under an pact among Hong Kong, Britain, Vietnam and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
One of the first to step off the plane was Le Van Dieng, who said, “I am happy to be back in my homeland.” But he refused to say why he left in the first place.
Vietnamese officials said the returnees will not be harassed or punished.