HOF010: Tran Le Hong Phuc

For Tran Le Hong Phuc, the fall of South Vietnam would usher in a period of personal tragedies for the then seven-year-old. First, his police commander father was imprisoned, never to return. The memory of his mother receiving news of her husband’s execution still strikes Tran with grief to this day. Then, in an ill-fated journey by boat in 1979, he helplessly watched the drowning deaths of dozens of fellow passengers, including his two younger siblings. With no time to grieve, he and the other survivors would find themselves at the centre of high-stakes negotiations between a Dutch marine captain who had rescued them and wanted them transported to a safe country, and the Vietnamese navy officials who were determined to send them to detention in Vietnam.