‘Stateless’ inmate fights transfer

Huong Dac Doan fought his transfer from Mission Institution to the higher-security Matsqui Institution

Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford

An inmate at the medium-security Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford fought to be transferred back to the minimum-security Mission Institution, saying he has been subjected to a “deprivation of liberty.”

But the Supreme Court of B.C. agreed on Dec. 17 with the acting warden at the Mission prison, saying   the transfer was “necessary and appropriate” because Huong Dac Doan is at risk of escaping.

Doan, 37, is serving a sentence of seven years and two months for three counts each of extortion and forcible confinement.

Doan was one of several people accused in the 2006 kidnapping, forcible confinement and torture of a victim, the victim’s wife and an associate over 25 days, in an attempt to extort approximately $1.3 million.

He admitted to assaulting one of the victims, but denied being involved in torture.

Doan was initially incarcerated at Matsqui, but was transferred to Mission in April of this year.

According to court documents, his parents are Vietnamese nationals, but it is not clear where Doan was born, as his parents were fleeing the war in 1976 and did not apply for a birth certificate or citizenship papers for their son.

The family ended up in a United Nations-sponsored refugee camp in Hong Kong, and were later approved to move to Canada.

They first landed in Halifax, N.S., in 1991, and then moved to Vancouver.

Doan had permanent residence status in Canada, but was deemed deportable following a conviction for aggravated assault and robbery in 1996 on the basis that he was a danger to the public in Canada, the documents state.

However, he was not accepted by Vietnam because he does not have citizenship papers, and his application for a travel document was refused by Vietnamese authorities in 2004.

Without the travel document, he could not be removed from Canada, and was considered a “stateless person.”

But by this year, Canada Border Services Agency’s relationship with Vietnam had improved, and it is now more likely that a travel document for Doan will be approved.

The court documents state that when Doan was provided with this information, he “appeared flustered and shocked that he might be deported when released.”

“He said that he had no contacts in Vietnam and that all his support persons were in Canada.”

These people include his common-law spouse and child, according to the documents.

His institutional parole officer believed that Doan was at risk of escaping from Mission Institution and, because of his connections to organized crime, could “seek assistance form gang members to hide in Canada, amongst a criminal element, with a corresponding risk to the public.”

The decision was then made to transfer Doan back to the higher-security Matsqui Institution on June 24 of this year.

Doan took the matter to court, saying Correctional Service Canada did not have reasonable grounds to transfer him.

His application was dismissed by Justice Brian Joyce.

“In my view, the reasons for the transfer are apparent from the record. The decision is the result of a rational, logical process in considering the factual circumstances …” Joyce stated in his written ruling.