HOF104: Nguyen Duc Mien

Working at the national bank before and after the Communists’ takeover of South Vietnam in 1975, Nguyen Duc Mien saw first-hand the turmoil unleashed when the new government devalued people’s savings and cash holdings with its new currency. Having failed one attempt to leave by boat and landing in prison as a result, Nguyen decided in 1980 to join a group of seven others travelling on foot to seek refuge in Thailand.

The journey involved travelling at night in the jungle, avoiding detection from not one but three warring parties—the Vietnamese army, Pol Pot’s army and Cambodian troops loyal to Prince Sihanouk. When the group fell into the hands of one faction, near the Thai border, what followed was a harrowing experience that Nguyen, to this day, still struggles to recount.