HOF133: HO Cong Thanh

In 1979, Ho Cong Thanh, his wife and their infant son joined a group of ethnic-Vietnamese on a journey at sea to freedom. The 485 passengers met adversities from the moment they left Vietnam. Although they were able to leave the country because of the government’s anti-Chinese policy, the boat was stopped by local police who ordered them to take an additional 150 passengers on board. Later, they were robbed by Vietnamese fishermen, who took their navigational compass into their possession. As a result, the boat was lost in open waters for 12 days before it reached the shores of Malaysia. The Malaysian authorities were unwilling to allow the refugees to settle in the country. The Malaysian coast guard towed them back out to sea, dragging the boat at such speed that it was in danger of either capsizing or breaking apart.