0

INSIGHT: A family holiday which turned into a Bahamian nightmare

THE CARMICHAEL Road Detention Centre. (File photo)

THE CARMICHAEL Road Detention Centre. (File photo)

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

tsmith-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

What started out as a vacation in paradise for Rui Hao and his family and friends turned into a total nightmare.

They have just left our shores vowing never to return, a lawsuit lodged against the government and a promise to tell everyone they can never to come here.

Rui Hao, is a native of China, however he lives in Amsterdam where he is a citizen. He and his friends spoke with The Tribune on Thursday to narrate the chain of events that left them shaken and wanting to leave the country and never return.

“We came here on December 20, 2020 for vacation,” said Hao. “We were to stay for 30 days, but after three weeks we were having such a good time, we decided to apply to the Immigration Department for an extension on our stay... We made the application and it was declined with no reason given.”

For Hao and his party this is when things quickly began to deteriorate as, for some reason, they were told they now couldn’t leave the country either.

“We found out that we couldn’t leave. So we went to the Immigration Department for an extension three more times and each time they declined without giving us a reason. So we were stuck here for about five months in Nassau in limbo. We started to get bored and decided to have a trip to Bimini.

“While we were in waters near Bimini some policemen came to us and were extremely rude. We were afraid because they were shouting at us. They said ‘you have legitimate travel documents so we are going to turn you over to immigration so they can decide.’ We didn’t know what to do. We knew that immigration in Nassau didn’t help us so we were hoping immigration in Bimini would. This did not happen!”

Hao and his three family friends were detained for two days by police in Bimini. The friends are also of Chinese descent, but live in Singapore. Hao and two others speak very good English.

“What’s even more shocking is that they told us children could not be imprisoned, but they still locked up the two children as well,” he continued. “They sent us to the Detention Centre in Nassau. Ironically they call it the ‘safe house’, but it was not. When we asked for certain things as simple as a phone call, one female officer asked us if we remembered we were in prison.

“From when we were in Bimini, nobody let us talk. They did the same thing at the Detention Centre. We could not even introduce ourselves. Every time we tried to say something they yelled at us and said, ‘let me do my job!’ They only made us answer them yes or no to their questions. They were very, very rude and mean to us.

“They were also very racist towards us. The entire time we were there at the Detention Centre they referred to us ‘those Chinese people’. Even though we were in the Detention Centre for two months, nobody knew our names. They referred to us as the Chinese and one even called me the Chinaman which is not even grammatically correct.”

Hao claims he and his friends were held at the Detention Centre and were not allowed to make or receive phone calls for two months.

During those months, he said they were exposed to unsanitary living and inhumane treatment from immigration officers who mocked them and gave them no hope of ever leaving the facility.

The group said at one point they contemplated suicide to get them out of the dilemma as they could not see any light at the end of the tunnel.

“The entire time they used various methods to torture us,” said Hao continuing. “I used to be very fit and strong, but I lost a lot of weight. We were given food three times a day. Most of the time they gave us turkey or pork. It was disgusting and I couldn’t eat it. When I saw the food my first instinct was to vomit. I couldn’t eat it and I gave it to other prisoners.

“The bathrooms and living facilities there were deplorable. They were filthy!

“They forced my friend to clean the places constantly and to unclog the filthy bathtub drains and basins. There was no running water and they made us use buckets and utensils to pour water on ourselves. We were given one small bar of soap to clean ourselves and wash the one set of clothing that we had on. It was horrible!

“The sheets were full of nasty stains and holes and the thin mattress had holes which exposed everything that was in them.

“One of the children, he’s 14, he has allergies and begged to be seen by a doctor. He was so sick they finally took him to a clinic and while there he started to vomit and they tried to give him a drip and he ended up bleeding a lot. There was so much blood! We were literally contemplating suicide before we managed to get hold of a lawyer.”

Hao noted the worst of all the immigration officers was a female who had “three stripes on her shoulders.”

“This female officer, she was so mean to us,” he said.

“She would mock us and say she would get the Chinese version of this and that for us and made it seem like we thought we were better than being there. We are not used to living like that. She would be so disrespectful but wanted us to call her ma’am all the time. She said that’s what people say in The Bahamas.”

Things took a turn for the better when attorney Fred Smith became involved.

“What’s really shocking is after two months, last Thursday, they wanted to do an emergency deportation on us because we retained the attorney Fred Smith. They had no legal papers for us to sign. No deportation papers. We asked about the papers and they said not to worry about it they will escort us to London.

“They wanted their tickets to be upgraded to First Class and they were not going beyond London in their escort. We don’t live in London so clearly they were looking for a vacation in London. When I asked them about this they said, ‘we do whatever we want’. At one point they said they were deporting us to China, but we don’t even live there.”

Whatever the issues with Bahamas Department of Immigration and Hao and his family friends, the group were allowed to leave the Detention Centre on August 5 without being deported. At the time of the interview, they were staying at a hotel in the Lyford Cay area and were planning to leave the same evening.

“We are happy to be leaving this afternoon,” Hao said. “I am happy we met Fred Smith. He assisted us in leaving that place. We are thankful to him. He is going to take care of the lawsuit when we are gone. We now have the correct documents to travel out of here. I am never coming back to this country, ever, and I will not recommend anyone to come here. This is an experience we can never forget.

“I can never forget what they did to us. How they treated us with scorn and disrespect. All those racist remarks and the awful treatment. I aged about 40 years while in that place. They even accused us of not being able to speak English or understand English.”

Hao said The Bahamas can be a beautiful place, but he and his friends are scarred by the treatment meted out to them by the officers of the Bahamas Department of Immigration.

Earlier this year, the United Nations did a tour of the Detention Centre. A report on their findings has been not yet been made public.

Comments

tribanon 1 year ago

Assuming Mr. Rui Hao is a national of Communist China, one can't help but wonder why he didn't immediately seek help from the Embassy of Communist China in Nassau. It certainly seems he and the others travelling with him were trying get into the US via Bimini.

1

DEDDIE 1 year ago

Reading comprehension. It states clearly that "he lives in Amsterdam where he is a citizen. That makes him Dutch.

6

tribanon 1 year ago

Knowledge deficit. Where you live does not determine your citizenship.

0

Bobsyeruncle 1 year ago

"however he lives in Amsterdam where he is a citizen"

The knowledge deficit is yours. It clearly says he is a citizen of The Netherlands, unless your hatred for Chinese people makes you believe Amsterdam is in China. See my post below

4

tribanon 12 months ago

And as you should well know, many idividuals the world over are citizens of more than one country.

1

IslandWarrior 1 year ago

Rui Hao, is a native of China, however, he lives in Amsterdam where he is a citizen.

3

DonAnthony 1 year ago

Read Bahamas! LMAO, tribanon never lets facts get in the way of his duplicitous delusional narrative.

1

tribanon 12 months ago

See my third post above. LOL

0

DonAnthony 12 months ago

And MOST are not yet that did not stop u from making up a completely unsubstantiated narrative despite evidence to the contrary. LMAO read Bahamas!

0

tribanon 12 months ago

ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

0

proudloudandfnm 12 months ago

We all know tribanon is a racist moron. Is anyone actually surprised at his racist, irrelevant comment?

Soon as I saw the name I knew trib was gonna run on about communist China....

He doesn't care about their actual citizenship all he sees is Chinese.....

Dude needs a white robe...

0

Farren 12 months ago

@tribanon, the article states that the man is european; moreover, what does that have to do with the price of tea in china? what he and his family endured was criminal. no wonder your country is becoming more and more isolated!

1

Bobsyeruncle 1 year ago

You really have a problem with Chinese people, don't you ? You're so consumed by your hatred for them that you can't even comprehend what the article says.

6

tribanon 12 months ago

You folks trolling me and looking for your "gotcha moment" really do flatter me no end, but at some point you've got to also start spending more time sensibly addressing the real issues at hand or risk becoming increasingly irrelevant to the conversation.

0

Islangal1 12 months ago

It says he's a native of China but has citizenship elsewhere which means he has to see assistance from The Dutch (Amersterdam) not China. I am a Bahamian native with British Citizenship. if I get in trouble outside The UK, I'd have to seek out a British Embassy, not a Bahamas High Commission.

1

tribanon 12 months ago

If he's a native of Communist China that means he has born there and has every right to avail himself of Communist Chinese Embassy help in another country like The Bahamas even if he does not carry a passport issued by Communist China. A Bahamian citizen born in the US and living in the Bahamas who does not have a US passport and has not officially renounced their US citizenship can avail themself of US embassy help in The Bahamas as a US citizen. That same Bahamian citizen with dual citizenship status is also subject to paying US income tax annually on their worldwide income including capital gains, but that's a whole other issue.

0

Farren 12 months ago

do you comprehend basic english? it clearly states, citizen of the netherlands. in any event, why would your people treat this man and his family sooooo abhorrently? DESPICABLE! REPREHENSIBLE! VILE! ignorance is ABOMINABLE and DIABOLICAL! shame on your 3rd World people. Ugh!

0

birdiestrachan 1 year ago

Decided to take a trip to Bimini on what boat?? or were they familiar enough with the waters of the Bahamas that they hired a boat. the time they spoke of the Bahamas was in constant lockdowns. Bahamians are not able to travel between family Islands without tests and travel Visas?.

And they tell us how beautiful our Islands are but they will bad mouth our Country..

Ambulance chasing Lawyer??

Bahamians think for yourselves there is a lot at stake..

0

ThisIsOurs 12 months ago

they came on vacation. The borders were open in December

1

birdiestrachan 1 year ago

I am not saying there are not some mean officers. I do not doubt that. but all NO.

When the tour of the detention centre took place where were they. Why did they not make themselves known?

0

dwanderer 12 months ago

Significant details of their story sound very suspicious. A group of friends, including minors, came on a 30 day vacation to the Bahamas at the end of December 2020. They liked it so much that they wanted to extend their stay. After being stuck in Nassau for 5 months, they got bored and decided to take a trip to Bimini.

What type of professions did they have back in the Netherlands to allow them to vacation for a month in the Bahamas? After a month-long vacation, didn't they have jobs and school to return to? How would they have been able to financially afford an extended stay if it had been granted?

After being stuck in Nassau for 5 months, why did they decide to go to Bimini and not any of the southern islands if they were bored, why choose the closest island to the USA? How did they pay for the trip to Bimini?

Usually, when a person travels to a foreign country, immigration officials require that you show an intent to return to where ever you reside. On a past trip to Australia and New Zealand, before entering I practically had to provide every document under the sun to prove that I was only vacationing. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and left before my visas expired.

Nothing about their story adds up. Too many details point to illegal intent. Yes, they should not have been mistreated by local Immigration, but why were they truly here in the first place?

2

ThisIsOurs 12 months ago

Its not unommon for Europeans to get 6-8 weeks vacation. Unlike us they realize it makes people more productive to have real mental breaks

I know a Bahamian who was stuck in the US for a little under 4 months when the borders closed.

As to going to Bimini, its possible most boating tourists travel north as opposed to south

1

Islangal1 12 months ago

So true! They have some countries which close during the summer and winter months to allow holidays and many kids are homeschooled. Salary on this side pales in comparison to on that side. I can take a 6-month vacation back home but choose to go elsewhere! And no one ever think that these people could be self-employed as most Asians are. They could have people working instead of the other way around! Reading some of these comments remind of why I left home!!

0

proudloudandfnm 12 months ago

Obviously they have money. Obviously they can afford a month long vacation in the Bahamas. That is not suspicious. What is suspicious is why they were not allowed to leave. And why were they detained? That is suspicious. We are getting way too many of these stories, something is going on i. Our immigration department. Something sinister. Time to find out what and who is involved. Urgently...

0

Farren 12 months ago

@dwanderer, why does that all matter to you? what relevance does it have to do with the atrocious ways the man and his family were treated? the point is, the man is relaying an experience in your birth country that was abhorrent, abysmal, deplorable~!

note: your were shaken through in new zealand because that place is profoundly racist. i was deported from that country. new zealand is despicable. i do not recommend anyone that is not caucASIAN to travel among those profoundly ignorant and primitive people 'downunder'.

if i were to have comprehended this article correctly, the persons with whom that asian man with netherlands citizenship dealt, were too being racist; prejudice was actively in play.

the focus of those commenting must be centered on the reprehensible conduct of officials in your country; not on this man's ethnicity or your perception that his experience in your homeland is 'spin'.

i am US born, residing between las vegas, nv and billings, mt; i deal with racism on the regular; it is disgusting. i'm appalled that a black country, knowing the racial thermostat in the US, ...world, would not put their best feet forward to assist their tourists positively; or were all those sorry-axx people in your country having covid symptoms and there was suddenly the departure from basic human courtesy, decency? 😱

shame is on your bahamas people ... culture.

0

WETHEPEOPLE 12 months ago

I totally agree with the victim. The way we treat people here is diporable, government agencies are the worst when it comes to this. Someone should be made to pay for the way these people were treated, because regardless what you may think about foreign nationals, you would not want to be treated like this in another mans country.

4

Farren 12 months ago

@wethepeople, you are 1000% correct! JackPot! 🤑 the experience this man and his traveling companions had was HELLACIOUS❗ 👀 thank you for your comment. it is among the few substantive on this thread.

0

GodSpeed 12 months ago

Something about this story doesn't add up. Why wouldn't you contact your embassy or get a lawyer immediately? This definitely isn't the whole story.

0

tribanon 12 months ago

@bobsyeruncle and @DonAnthony certainly seem convinced Mr. Rui Hao can't possibly be a national of Communist China because he happens to be living in Amsterdam and is a citizen of the Netherlands. Perhaps @bobsyeruncle and @DonAnthony really don't know any Bahamian citizens living abroad who also happen to be citizens of other countries.

But I'm more inclined to believe @bobsyeruncle and @DonAnthony have become much too infatuated with trolling me in the hope of getting their "gotcha moment". That being the case, they're allowing themselves to become about as relevant to any conversation as @Topdude who usually brings out the ZZZZZZzzzzzzz in me. lol

0

DonAnthony 12 months ago

Truth hurts, you must be hearing it for the first time. And learn to read properly next time before you make assine statements.

0

tribanon 12 months ago

You have to point out the truth first before it can hurt. So far you've only succeeded in pointing out your oversight at best, or ignorance at worse, of the fact that someone can be a citizen of more than one country. lol

0

Bobsyeruncle 12 months ago

Deflect, Deflect, Deflect. You really find it hard to hold your hand up and say "Sorry, I was wrong". Your standard response, when someone calls you out and proves you wrong is your "ZZZZZzzzzz" comment.

99.99% of your all too many posts are negative and insulting to others.

Hard to decide whether you're a Sociopath or a Narcissist, or perhaps both.

0

tribanon 12 months ago

ZZZZZZzzzzzzz........lol

0

proudloudandfnm 12 months ago

It appears trib is an actual moron..

0

proudloudandfnm 12 months ago

Who is the Dutch HCC? That person needs to speak up too...

This is ridiculous time for a major investigation of immigration. These abuses seem to be the norm. This needs to be dealt with....

0

Sign in to comment