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Theodore Schweitzer

Ko Kra map

Ko Kra island in Google maps

Koh Kra, with a latitude of 11.82 (11° 49' 0 N) and a longitude of 102.38 (102° 22' 60 E), is a hypsographic (island) located in the area / state of Trat in Thailand that is a part of Asia. The location is situated 438 kilometers south east (144°) of the approximate center of Thailand and 295 kilometers south east (137°) of the captial Bangkok. An average elevation of 51 meters above the sea.

Koh Kra is a deserted island in the gulf of Siam 80 kilometers from the town of Nakhon Si Thammarat. Lately the island has become a haven for Thai pirates. The Thai government is aware of this fact, but is apparently unable to do anything about it. It is impossible to relate accurately.It is imposible to relate accurately the stories of all the boat people killed on or around the island.

Most of the rescue operations were led by the UNHCR's field officer, Theodore Schweitzer, sometimes with the assistance of the Thai police. Schweitzer first arrived in Koh Kra in mid 1979, and he then found evidence everywhere of earlier attacks against the refugees.

Between the last month of 1979 and the first months of 1982, Schweitzer made at least two dozen trips to Koh Kra saving 1250 refugees. In 1983, he founded the private humanitarian organisation South East Asia Rescue Foundation to assist the Indochinese refugees

Schweitzer also believes that the attacks were perpetrated by opportunistic fishermen rather than of organized criminals

For Schweitzer, that trip to Ko Kra was the first of dozens. On dove from a rented fishing boat that couldn't beach because of high seas and swam alone to the island to rescue dozens of women whose screams he could no longer bear to hear. Dressed only in his shorts he tried to scared 50 sea toughened pirates into running away by warning them that they were about to be arrested. The pirates beat him so ferociously that they broke a rib and a collar bone and so severely injured a kidney that he still requires medical treatment.

That was one of two serious beatings he received, Schweitzer said; he was threatened more times than he can recall. He even heard that a contract had been put out on his life by the relatives of some the seven Thai pirates he captured - which was seven more than the Thai navy arrested during the same period.

Death Records Unearthed

In 1989, former United Nations worker Ted Schweitzer, who had risked his life to aid boat people fleeing Vietnam after the war, gained access to the Central Military Museum in Hanoi. During subsequent trips to Vietnam, Schweitzer photographed or scanned thousands of photographs and documents compiled by the Vietnamese during the war. Schweitzer's search revealed that the Vietnamese had information confirming the deaths of eleven American servicemen -- information that Vietnam had previously denied holding. Read more

Courtesy of www.pbs.org

Palm Coast man is boat people's hero

Not many people can claim responsibility for saving more than 1250 lives.

The news journal OR read more in file

Courtesy of news.google.com/newspapers

The suffering of the Vietnamese Boat people

In the early eighties an American, Ted Schweitzer, landed on a pirate island and heard how 238 refugees had been shipwrecked there. Eighty had been killed and the women were raped and forced to dance naked. Schweitzer tried to stop this but was knocked unconscious. He was lucky to live. When he awoke he found dismembered limbs and evidence of cannibalism. Read more at www.vietka.com OR read more in file

Courtesy of www.vietka.com

The Forgotten Pirate Hunter: The True Account of American Librarian Ted Schweitzer Pursuit to Free Refuge At the End of Vietnam

Real heroes don’t just fight with weapons—they fight with knowledge. At the end of the Vietnam War, Americans had left thousands of refugees to fend off evil for themselves. When trying to escape on small boats many were taken by pirates. Some were raped. Others tortured. Too many were senselessly murdered. Ted Schweitzer stood alone and fought back against the injustice. He rescued thousands of women and children from bondage. And then he too, like the people he rescued, was forgotten into obscurity.

From fighting pirates to helping recover POWs, this book uncovers a story that should have never been left untold.


Pirates continue to rape and murder Vietnamese refugees By Michael Dorgan Mercury News Staff Writer

TURBULENT YEAR Nhat Tien was among those that Schweitzer saved during his turbulent 12-month assignments as a United Nations field officer in Songkhla seven years ago. Like many of the others, he was rescued from Ko Kra Island, a 100-acre swatch of jungle and rocks about 30 miles off the Thai coast.

Nhat Tien, who now lives in Orange County, said he is convinced that the 157 people on the island owe their lives to Schweitzer. "If he didn't do anything, everybody would have died," he said. "We had no food left."

Courtesy of Forgot me not

Pirates_in_the_Gulf_of_Siam by NHAT TlEN, DUONG PHUC, VU THANH THUY

First Incident: 87 People killed

Second Incident: 70 People Killed

Third Incident: the pirates forces girls into prostitution

For 31 days. from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 1, 1979, 157 Vietnamese refugees were held by pirates on Koh Kra Island. These people were robbed, raped, tortured, push into the sea, until finally they were discoved by the U.N. High Commissioner and taken to the mainland. Because of the efficient action by the High Commissioner and the determination of the refugees, seven pirates were identified and charged with crimes to be judged by the Thai courts.

Courtesy of Pirates_in_the_Gulf_of_Siam

Inside Hanoi's Secret Archives: Solving the MIA Mystery

We devised all sorts of schemes, including trying to recruit a Vietnamese official as a spy. Enter Ted Schweitzer. I had met Ted in 1987 or '88. He headed a humanitarian organization that collected surplus medical equipment and supplies that he took to Vietnam as contributions. His humanitarian work had gained him a degree of entree' into Vietnam. I had told Ted about our need to get into their archives; he asked a few questions but that was about the end of it. Read more

Courtesy of www.miafacts.org

Photo courtesy of Ted Schweitzer

Hell on earth   Sea pirate   Pirate   kitnap
Hell on earth   Sea pirate   Pirate   kitnap
Hell on earth   Sea pirate   Pirate   kitnap
Photo courtesy of www.searescue.org

Photos of Koh Kra in 2012.

Our trip to Koh Kra on April 2012
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