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Vietnamese 5-Year-Old Lost in Riot, Held 12 Days in Jail

May 23, 1996

HONG KONG (AP) _ A 5-year-old Vietnamese girl spent 12 days in prison after being separated from her parents during a riotous breakout from a camp holding Vietnamese boat people, a lawyer said Thursday.

The girl, who was born in the camp and is named Hong Kong, was reunited with her parents on Wednesday, a government statement said.

Pam Baker, a lawyer who campaigns for the 18,000 Vietnamese asylum-seekers held in the British colony, told Hong Kong radio that the girl was caught up in the May 10 riot at the Whitehead Detention Center. The government said she was among 119 detainees who escaped.

The government statement said the girl was caught outside the camp with a woman and two children who police assumed were her family.

It said they refused to identify themselves, and only eight days later did the child tell a prison welfare officer her parents were in Whitehead.

Ms. Baker said the girl’s father had been locked in an isolation unit and her mother was confined in a different area of the camp.

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