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Firm short-changed in China visa case

A PERTH businessman feels cheated after the Department of Immigration deported a Chinese man whom was summonsed to appear before the Supreme Court in a civil action.

Michael Pastorelli and partner Carmelo Tassone, directors of Power Engine Flush Pty Ltd, had a ‘restraint of debtors’ order served against Zheng Xi Yong after it was learned that he was planning to leave the country.

Mr Yong was arrested and subsequently released after surrendering his passport and visa to the court and ordered not to depart the Commonwealth.

However, in a strange twist, Mr Pastorelli said the Department of Immigration had escorted Mr Yong to the airport, bypassing customs, because his visa had expired. This action was taken despite the department having been alerted to the court order.

Mr Pastorelli said the move had effectively removed any chance the company could have of claiming damages of $300,000 against the man, while important intellectual property held by the company has been lost overseas.

“We might as well forget about it and walk away from it. We can’t serve the papers on him anymore,” Mr Pastorelli said.

In the meantime the company spent around $30,000 in legal fees.

“Immigration showed no respect for the honourable courts and showed a lack of responsibility to us as the people by preventing the course of justice,” Mr Pastorelli said.

He believes other small business operators could face similar experiences if the Department of Immigration decides to ignore court orders.

He said letters sent to the Federal Attorney General Daryl Williams, State Attorney General Jim McGinty and WA Senator Chris Ellison had amounted to nothing. Mr Pastorelli said recourse could hardly be expected to come from China either even though that country had become part of the World Trade Organisation.

In a radio interview on ABC late last year Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock defended the actions of his department.

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