HOF167: Tinh Duc Bui

After 3 years in a Vietnamese re-education camp, Tinh Duc Bui was determined to leave his country for good. He and his friends obtained a boat and they worked for 2 years, delivering ice to small establishments along the Vietnamese shore.

After 2 years, the friends and their relatives planned their escape. They managed to pass all the security checkpoints and the boat sailed to a Malaysian island where pirates abruptly interrupted their journey. The larger pirate boat collided with the group, splitting their boat in half. Some of the passengers drowned during the melee. Tinh, along with another passenger, was able to find a piece of driftwood and used it to swim to the shore where Malaysian fishermen saved them.

Tinh and his friends were escorted to a refugee camp. At the camp, immigration officials told him that since he was a former officer in the army, he could seek asylum in the United States. As an alternative, the Canadian immigration officials offered to sponsor Tinh and his friends in order to settle in Canada.

Today, Tinh lives in Vancouver and volunteers to help with Surrey’s Vietnamese community. He also provides support where he can for the homeless in Vancouver.