Pulau Tengah Refugee Camp Malaysia

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Tengah Boat people

If you stayed in this camp, we need your story. Any information is highly appreciated. If you see it here, we'd still like to hear from you. Corroboration is important. We will always need more information. Please email us at vt268tengah@gmail.com

Story of Con Dao 3

Passengers' stories

From Phuong Nguyen
Thank you for your response and posting my boat number on your website.
My trip was quite unique because it was a big fishing boat belonged to the Vietnam Communist government. Some crew members –including the captain and chief mechanic organized a hijack, captured the rest of the crew, picked up families and friends on the riverside and left in the middle of the night from Bến Ninh Kiều, Cần Thơ. There were about 150 people.

It was a daring job but it was executed successfully. I was one of the passengers.

The original plan was to go to Australia but after three days at sea, we were low on food and fuel. We approached a local fishing boat to ask for direction to a port to restock and refuel but the fishermen told us there was a refugee camp on Pulau Tengah island nearby so we went there to check it out.

I could never forget the scene of the island as we were approaching it. A beach full of people waiting and waiving! Couple representatives used a small boat to go out and boarded our boat. They convinced us to come on the island instead of risking our lives to continue to Australia. We agreed. So that’s how I came to Pulau Tengah.

I’m sending you couple photos we have taken at a picnic on Bac Dao. There was no one living on that side of the island yet when I was there from March 31, 1978 to June 23, 1978. Today I lost contact with all but one in these pictures. My friends called me by my nickname Thành on the island. I’m the one with the white shirt carrying the guitar on Tengah1.jpg and standing on the right of Tengah3.jpg.

Phuong Nguyen
Please contact me at nguyentphuong@gmail.com
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