Ngo Quoc Phuc v Torture Claims Appeal Board

CourtCourt of Appeal (Hong Kong)
Judgment Date23 Apr 2021
Neutral Citation[2021] HKCA 542
subjectMatterCivil Appeal
Judgement NumberCACV521/2020
CACV521/2020 NGO QUOC PHUC v. TORTURE CLAIMS APPEAL BOARD

CACV 521/2020

[2021] HKCA 542

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF APPEAL

CIVIL APPEAL NO 521 OF 2020

(ON APPEAL FROM HCAL NO 926 OF 2018)

________________________

BETWEEN
Ngo Quoc Phuc Applicant
and
Torture Claims Appeal Board Putative Respondent
and
Director of Immigration Putative Interested Party

________________________

Before: Hon Kwan VP, Chu JA and Au JA

Date of Written Submission: 30 December 2020

Date of Judgment: 23 April 2021

________________________

J U D G M E N T

________________________

Hon Kwan VP (giving the Judgment of the Court):

1. The applicant lodged a Notice of Appeal on 28 September 2020 against the decision of Deputy High Court Judge Bruno Chan dated 18 September 2020[1]. By that decision, the judge refused to grant leave to the applicant to seek judicial review of the decision of the Torture Claims Appeal Board (“the Board”) concerning his non‑refoulement protection claim.

2. The applicant is a national of Vietnam. He is 30 years old. He entered Hong Kong illegally on 23 September 2015 and was arrested by police on the same day. On 27 September 2015, he raised a non‑refoulement claim on the basis that if he returns to Vietnam he will be harmed or killed by his creditor for failing to repay his debt.

3. The applicant consented to the disposal of this appeal on paper by the Court of Appeal. He lodged his written submissions on 30 December 2020 pursuant to the directions of the Registrar of Civil Appeals.

The Director’s decision

4. By a Notice of Decision dated 20 April 2017, the Director of Immigration (“the Director”) rejected the applicant’s non-refoulement claim on all applicable grounds including torture risk[2], BOR 2 risk[3], BOR 3 risk[4] and persecution risk[5].

5. Taking into account the low intensity and frequency of past ill-treatment from the applicant’s creditor, the Director considered that the level of risk of harm upon the applicant's return to Vietnam is low. The Director also assessed that the harm inflicted by the creditor and his fellows did not attain the minimum level of severity required for non-refoulement protection. The Director further considered that the applicant’s problem with the creditor is a private dispute without any official involvement. The Director also held that the availability of state protection and internal relocation alternatives further lowers or negates the level of risk.

The...

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