Camp VII (Phu Binh Camp)

Saturday - 16/07/2022 18:21
Camp VII (also known as Camp Phu Binh) stands geographically isolated. It was used to detain the most stubborn political prisoners on Con Dao Islands.
It was called Camp VII from 1971-1973. The name American Tiger Cage was given by the prisoners. The camp is 25,768m2 wide, divided into 8 zones named A - B - C  - D - E - F - G – H. Each zone has 48 cells and there are 384 cells in total, which was built as a solitary zone and used to replace the broken Tiger Cage area built during the French period. To get to the cell from the camp gate, you have to go through 5 to 7 iron gates. In each zone, two rows of cells face each other and are separated by a narrow and dark corridor. The top of each cell installed an iron grid  (like the French Tiger Cage) which was to absorb maximum heat from the low corrugated iron roof of the zone, making the cell scorching hot all day and then gradually turning cold from midnight to morning due to the cold air from the floor.  The American-style prison structure has depended on the unfavorable elements of nature to torture the people. 
 
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Since the end of 1970, stubborn political prisoners in the French Tiger Cage,  Cowshed and other camps were transferred here. Camp VII called "American  Tiger Cage" was the place where most stubborn political prisoners stayed so it became the center of the struggle movement of Con Dao political prisoners during this period. Reports of the prison in the years of 1973 and 1974 show that many struggles of political prisoners broke out at Camp VI and Camp VII in the form of collective chanting, demanding that the authorities had to provide adequate food and medicine, respect the Paris Peace Accords, and immediately release the incarcerated political prisoners. 
 
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Camp VII was the starting place and the center of directing the rebellion to liberate  Con Dao in the spring of 1975. With the help of priest Pham Gia Thuy and a  number of soldiers, civil servants, prison guards, and leaders of Camp VII took the opportunity to liberate Con Dao at 1 am on May 1, 1975. The provisional island party committee was established with 7 people. Comrade Trinh Van Tu (Tu  Can) was the Secretary of the Party Committee. The Party Committee immediately formed armed forces to occupy the barracks, the police stations and liberated the camps. At 8:00 am on May 1, 1975, 7,448 prisoners (including 4,234  political prisoners) in 8 main camps and many sub-camps were released, political prisoners completely occupied Con Dao, established a revolutionary government  and organized Con Dao defense forces. 
 

Source: Department of Culture and Sport of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Provice, Photo: Internet

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