Fatal Accident Inquiry Begins Into Death of Chinese Man Held In Dungavel

15 August 2022

A fatal accident inquiry into the death of Chinese national Mr Xi Biau Huang, 54,  inside Dungavel Detention Centre, begins today Monday 15th August, in Hamilton Sheriff Court. 

Mr Xi Biau Huang, 54, Pictured with his three grandchildren

Mr Huang died on 19 September 2017 while detained for two weeks at Dungavel Detention Centre. He had persistently complained of feeling unwell and died from a heart attack but was never taken to hospital during his detention.

Prior to his detention, the much-loved husband, father, and grandfather of three lived peacefully with his wife and family in Liverpool for 13 years.

He came to the UK in 2004 on a work permit. His immigration issues began when the company he worked for closed down, and he lost his job.

At the time of his death, Positive Action in Housing raised questions about how Mr Huang died inside Dungavel. The Home Office refused to provide details. 

Chief Executive of Positive Action in Housing, Robina Qureshi, said: 

“It has been five years since we first raised questions about Mr Huang and the circumstances of his death. For the sake of his family and those still at risk of detention, we hope the Fatal Accident Inquiry brings out the truth of what happened to him while he was detained. 

"Immigrants who have committed no crime should not be detained like criminals. Would he still be alive had he not been detained and been able to freely attend hospital to see a specialist with the support of his family?" 

Many failings have been reported about the practices within Dungavel and UK Detention Centres. From the long periods that people have been held to the lack of transparency or proper investigation of deaths inside detention. Medical Justice reported these findings in 2016 and consistently alerted the Home Office, and NHS England, about the systemic failures in immigration detention and warned that these would lead to further deaths unless addressed.

Plans were announced to close Dungavel at the end of 2017, with a short-term holding centre to be built in Paisley. However, Positive Action in Housing led a Scotland-wide campaign to block planning permission. Renfrewshire Council's planning board firmly rejected the application, and the Home Office confirmed that Dungavel would remain open. We continue to call for the closure of the Dungavel removal centre in Scotland.

Geo Group UK Ltd operates Dungavel. It holds up to 249 detainees, of which a small number (14) are women. Med-Co Secure Healthcare Services provides physical healthcare, mental healthcare and substance misuse services. There is no inpatient unit.

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