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Myanmar man accused of self-immolation in Australian bank


rooster59

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Myanmar man accused of self-immolation in Australian bank 

ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press

 

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A 21-year-old man accused of injuring 26 bystanders when he set himself on fire with gasoline in a bank branch in Australia's second-largest city was identified on Saturday as a Myanmar asylum seeker who had been waiting three years to be accepted as a refugee.

 

The suspect, known by his friends as Noor, and five bystanders were taken to hospital with serious burns following the fire at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia branch in the Melbourne suburb of Springvale Friday morning, officials said.

 

Another 21 people ranging from children to elderly in their 80s were taken to hospitals with breathing problems.

 

Noor, who remained under police guard on Saturday, came to Australia by boat as a lone teen in 2013 and had been waiting to be granted a refugee visa ever since, said Pamela Curr, who recently retired from the non-government Asylum Seeker Resource Center outside Melbourne.

 

Curr did not know why Noor had allegedly decided to set himself alight. But she said the Immigration Department was threatening to make thousands of asylum seekers financially desperate by cutting their benefits if their refugee claims were rejected.

 

"The department is going to starve thousands of people out of the country, or so they think," Curr said.

 

A member of Myanmar's minority-Muslim Rohingya community in Melbourne, Habib Habib, said Noor speaks Rohingya, although he might not himself identify as Rohingya.

 

Noor had been struggling financially to help support his family in Myanmar with the government benefits he is paid every two weeks, Habib said. Asylum seekers are not legally allowed to work.

 

Habib had been told that Noor's latest benefit had not been deposited into his bank account when it was due on Wednesday and that Noor had returned to the bank each day in the hope of making a withdrawal.

 

Noor's friends had become concerned by the state of his mental health as years passed without his refugee claim being resolved.

 

"This system makes all of them crazy. They're in legal limbo," Habib said.

 

Police have yet to announce a motive for the fire, which was quickly extinguished.

 

Closed-circuit television footage showed Noor walking toward the bank carrying a plastic bottle of gasoline that he had bought from a nearby gas station moments before the blaze.

 

Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on Saturday declined to comment on Noor's refugee claim.

 

"You'd have to lose your mind to do something so cruel," Joyce told reporters.

 

Noor arrived in Australia shortly before July 19, 2013, when the government introduced a hard-line policy banning refugees who arrive by boat after that date from ever making Australia home. Since then, asylum seekers have been sent to Australia-run camps on the Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

 

Two refugees on Nauru set themselves alight within a week early this year. The first was a 23-year-old Iranian man who died. A 21-year-old Somali woman survived after hospital treatment in Australia.

 

Noor was initially detained in an immigration camp on the Australian territory of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean before he was relocated to Melbourne on a bridging visa while awaiting the outcome of his refugee application, Curr said.

 

 
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-- © Associated Press 2016-11-19
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18 minutes ago, rooster59 said:

Noor had been struggling financially to help support his family in Myanmar with the government benefits he is paid every two weeks,

There is the problem. Why should the Australian government or any other government pay over more money than is needed to support a family back in the home country. 

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Damn! I know the bank well, it's packed everyday with people moving money! At least he's got their attention now, I hope he survives to return to his family (the government will never give him a visa now!) :sad::wai:

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2 hours ago, PaddyDaddy said:

There is the problem. Why should the Australian government or any other government pay over more money than is needed to support a family back in the home country. 

Spot on!

Why should benefits supposedly designed for people to get by whilst seeking employment in a specific country, with prevailing economic challenges, be used to subsidise another economy?

I am all for family supporting other members - more so after living in Thailand and seeing how it works - but to (ab)use a "benefit" system in another country and then, because of frustration that it did not provide enough funds to meet certain family requirements, lead to an action that would injure 26 innocent people is simply not acceptable.

I'm a Brit and sick that a benefit system in my old country originally designed to help people TEMPORARILY not in work has become:

1) A way of life of some of the indigenous Brits - ABSOLUTELY NOT ACCEPTABLE.

2) An attraction for other people not from our country to come and get on the gravy train - read DITTO above!

It's never going to be a perfect world, I know, but actions that injure innocent people whilst chasing a benefit system that could - if overloaded - cripple a country is again not acceptable by any means.

No easy answer methinks..............

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, PaddyDaddy said:

There is the problem. Why should the Australian government or any other government pay over more money than is needed to support a family back in the home country. 

 

Because they are rich Westerners and he/they are poor Asians. So the Westerners should pay them free money every fortnight/month for nothing. 

 

That is how it works. Or should should work, if it wasn't for bad, stingey, tight Westerners. 

 

 

Don't you have a poor Asian GF/Wife here? 

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