HOF068: Chu Trong Huyen

It took Chu Trong Huyen 13 tries before he could make it out of Vietnam in 1983, at the age of 23. A son of a military commander, one of eight children, Chu managed to evade capture each time a planned escape ran aground, thanks in part to his quick instinct to peel away from the crowd, but also in part to strangers’ going out of their way to offer him protection. On the journey to Malaysia in a 13-metre long fishing boat packed with 99 people, Chu helped fend off Thai pirates who were about to attack. Sponsored by the Canadian government to Belleville, Ontario., Chu worked and saved up so he could, in turn, sponsor his two younger siblings and his fiance, with whom he reunited after 10 years’ separation.