Camp V (Phu Phong Camp)

Saturday - 16/07/2022 00:42
Built in 1962, this camp is also known as Phu Phong Camp that was built in the same style as the prison camps of the French period on an area of 6,752m2, adjacent to the wall of the Tiger Cage (to the west) and to the wall of Prison Camp III (now known as Camp I). Camp V has 12 rooms divided into 3 rows, each row has 4 rooms and 1 kitchen…with a total area of 3,594m2. It was completed in 1964. At first, it was the place where confined military prisoners (later called prisoners of war) were kept.
Phu Phong camp was the place where many repressions of the enemy took place,  and at the same time, it was also a place to demonstrate the tenacious fighting spirit of the female prisoners and other prisoners here. Thirty-six women protesting at Thu Duc Camp and exiled to the island in August 1966 were also detained in this camp. In July 1970, the enemy had to transfer 360 women from the Tiger Cage to Camp V. These women created a resilient fighting group, which was a typical flag in the struggle movement at Tiger Cage of Con Dao during the period 1969 - 1970.
phú phong

The struggles for people's livelihoods and democracy in Camp V were also very fierce. The main method of struggle was hunger strike and shouting. During the years 1971 - 1972, under Lieutenant Colonel Cao Minh Tiet who was an intelligence boss, the evilest warden Le Van Khuong was brought back to be the head of Camp V. Cao Minh Tiet purged the opposing prisoners who had different views on the struggle at Camp IV, Cowshed and other places to gather at this camp, and assign Le Van Khuong to implement the plan "using prisoners to treat prisoners", "using opposition to treat opposition", with the increase in the scale of the team of order, security, intelligence, and secret intelligence. Beside bloody blows, Le Van Khuong terrorized the prisoners with other methods that were psychologically shocking, such as causing division, suspicion and confusion among groups of political prisoners. 

After the Tiger Cage was demolished (1970), Camp V together with Camp I,  Camp IV were grouped and formed an intermediate zone to purge prisoners.  Subjects who obeyed the rules and endured forced labor were sent to Camp II and  Camp III. Others continued to be detained in this area for re-education, monitoring  and purge. 
phú phong 2

Camp V was the first camp to be built by the former South government in Con  Dao and later Camp VI, VII, VIII were formed. Camp V is the place to witness the start of the former South government’s crimes, where the tricks of using prisoners to treat prisoners, using opposition to treat opposition were experimented. However, in this camp itself, a vibrant struggle movement was recorded, especially the struggle of female political prisoners from 1968 to 1974. 

Along with the increase in the scale of the invasion war, Con Dao prison was also expanded. After many surveys, the US Civilian Advisory Delegation suggested that the US government use the budget of MCCORD (the US military and economic aid program in Vietnam) to build a sample prison system in Con Dao.  The US prison construction experts went to Con Dao to study and design a largescale prison system including Camp VI, Camp VII, Camp VIII in the northeast of  Con Dao town. The US contractor RMK-BRJ won the contract and rushed to build this prison system. All the 3 camps were built almost at the same time (early 1968)  and put into use at the end of 1970. 

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

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