Camp IV (Phu Tuong Camp)

Saturday - 16/07/2022 00:42
During the French period, this was the sub-Bagne of Bagne III; In the American era, it was called Jail Camp IV, Phu Tuong Camp. The camp was built in the 1940s, then named the sub-Bagne of Bagne III (Annexe du Bagne III) which was basically completed in 1944. The sub-Bagne of Bagne III had 2 rows, 8 gates, and was built in succession into the isolated area, at the southern corner of Bagne III
In 1944, newly completed prisons of the sub-Bagne were used as an infirmary to isolate prisoners with infectious diseases. After the August Revolution (1945), Bagne III and its sub-Bagne were abandoned for many years and ran down rapidly. The technical condition of the sub-Bagne of Bagne III was better, so it was used to imprison a class of new prisoners from the mid-1952s. After the riots of 200 prisoners in Ben Dam Port (December 12, 1952), all the prisoners of Bagne II were transferred here. Since then, the sub-Bagne of Bagne III was called the Military Prison Camp (Camps des prisons militaires). It can be said that Camp IV was founded when other camps I and II had no more space to keep prisoners.
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The Military Prison Camp had a large and experienced team of officers from the provincial, regiment, battalion, and company levels…, who were trained in real combat on the battlefield. The prisoners’ force was organized into a combat army, which was the assault force in the activities and struggles of Con Dao prisoners.

From mid-1953, the Office of the Standing Committee of the Island was moved to this camp. The policy of "actively attacking the enemy" was formed here, arming all political prisoners with attacking ideology in all activities and struggles, deeply grasping the view "Prison is a battlefield where the prisoners are soldiers”; "The struggle in the prison is a part of the revolutionary war, the
resistance war of the nation." 

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In July 1959, the former South government transferred 1,500 confined political prisoners against secession at Camp I (Communist Camp) to disperse in the areas of Camp III, Camp IV and Tiger Cage. The political prisoners' struggle against secession entered a period of fierce testing. Within 16 months, 150 political prisoners died because of the prohibition and flogging regime in this area.

There were many protest movements showing the prisoners' determination to fight to the end, particularly the continuous hunger strike movement, whether it was a success or a failure. Prisoners in the rooms of Camp IV declared a hunger strike to demand their livelihoods and democracy (1963) with the following demands: stop prohibiting, freedom of thoughts, abolition of chanting slogans,  abolition of flag salute, release of confined political prisoners, full meals with enough food, fresh vegetables, meat and fish, provision of medicines when being sick, having the right to vote for representatives of the rooms and general  representative of the camp...  In early 1964, the former South government gathered all confined political prisoners in Camp IV and renamed it Camp I. Accordingly, the old Camp I  changed its name to Camp II, the old Camp II became Camp III and this prison camp was officially named Camp IV. Camp I, Camp IV and the Tiger Cage were the center of the struggle movement of Con Dao political prisoners in the years  1964 - 1970.  Camp IV is a relic of historical value through the two periods of French and  American domination, a witness to denounce war crimes that turned this place into "the hell on earth". 

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

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