Australia grants new visa to Vietnamese hate-crime victim

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Duong Minh Tuan (R) and his friend Adrian De Luca / PHOTO COURTESY OF VNEXPRESS
A Vietnamese student who was nearly killed in a race-hate beating in Australia in 2012 has been allowed to return to that country after a visa dispute.
Online newspaper VnExpress quoted David Bongiorno, a lawyer representing Duong Minh Tuan in Australia, as saying that his client received the new visa on Friday, two days after he filed an application with the Australian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.
The visa is valid from February 21, 2014 to August 30, 2015.
Tuan, 23, told the newspaper on Monday that he would fly back to Australia on February 28 to complete his studies.
He was one year away from obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Melbourne’s Swinburne University when he was deported last month for allegedly overstaying his visa.
“I’m very happy and would like to send my gratitude to people who have supported me,” he said upon obtaining the new visa.
The Vietnamese student was refused re-entry into Australia at the Melbourne Airport on January 8 as he traveled back from Vietnam to finish his university education. It was his first home visit since the attack in June, 2012.
He was ordered to immediately board a plane to his home country and was told that he was banned from entering Australia for three years.
Local immigration officials said his visa expired on March 15 last year, although Tuan had documents showing that his visa did not expire until March 15 this year.
Bongiorno refused to talk about the causes and reasons behind the visa dispute in the interview with VnExpress.
He said people should leave the story behind, adding that what matters is that Tuan has been allowed to return to Australia to finish his studies.
Tuan’s visa dispute grabbed headlines in Australia last month when his friend Adrian De Luca started an online petition urging Scott Morrison, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, to change his decision to cancel Tuan’s visa, and it gained more than 89,000 signatures.
During her visit to Vietnam last week, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the Australian Consulate – General in HCMC would create favorable conditions for Tuan’s visa process.
In a comment on Tuan getting the new visa, De Luca was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that Australian authorities had no option but to do the right thing with Tuan and let him return to the country.
He said Tuan's plight would never have come to light without the petition and the support of so many people.
“It's been a hard fight, but it's a fantastic outcome,” the piano teacher, who made friends with Tuan after the savage attack, said.
In the assault that was said to have shocked all of Australia, three neo-Nazi skinheads punched and kicked Tuan 70 times, stabbed him and smashed a brick over his head with such force that the brick broke in two, ABC News reported.
He was attacked while he was on his way home from his part-time job at a convenience store in Melbourne.
It left Tuan with severe swelling of his brain, severe swelling to his face, multiple fractures to the skull, multiple fractures to his jaw and multiple fractures to the orbital bone around his eye socket, said Sergeant Kevin Burke, who investigated the bashing.
Tuan is still awaiting AU$25,000 (US$22,000) worth of dental treatment, as his front teeth were smashed out.
His assailants were sentenced to 10 and four years in prison.

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