Note: This letter was from the Memoir "Toi phai song" (I must live) of Father Le Huu Nguyen. This Memoir was posted in  with the following link:

Ti Phải Sống



Letter from Rev. Phạm Qu Ha  to

The US Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding Thi Dinh Bui (Bui Dinh Thi).


My name is PHAM, Hoa Quy. I was born on 04/20/1930, in Ha tinh, Vietnam. I became a priest in 1960. I am a citizen and national of New Caledonia (France). I am presently residing in New Caledonia.


I met a man called BUI Thi Dinh(BUI) at Camp Thanh Cam. BUI was  an TRAT TU VIEN(Head of prisoners)in the camp. Another prisoner named TRUONG Phat Minh assisted BUI.


I remember an incident that  happened to me on 07/26/1979, at approximately 6:00 PM, in Camp Thanh Cam. BUI's assistant TRUONG was doing the evening security roll call in the camp. TRUONG opened the door to my cell and entered to check the toilet area. As he walked past me, TRUONG suddenly hit at my knee very badly with his wooden hammer. Once he finished checking the toilet area, and as he was leaving the cell, TRUONG stared at me with furious eyes,. I also stared back at him with a scornful smile, and he did't like the way I looked at him, so TRUONG came back into the cell in order to hit me again. But as he raised the hammer, I immediately got up and attacked him to protect myself. TRUONG was terrified running out of the cell. As I was chasing TRUONG, I called upon a friend named LE, Bao Thien, another prisoner in the same cell to come and help me. A policeman standing there ordered me to return into the cell, and told TRUONG to shut the door. Later, TRUONG returned with BUI and a Lieutenant named VAN, from communist army. TRUONG opened the door, pulled me out, and they started to beat me. BUI held my arms behind me anh punched me repeatedly in the back and hip, while TRUONG hit me in the face, chest and stomach. They hit me constinuously until the Lieutenant told them it was eneough. After that, they pulled me into the cell and closed the door.


I remember another incident that happened approximately one week before that. At that time BUI and TRUONG also beat Father MAI, Bao Quang very heavily. Father MAI was a Priest belonging to the diocese of Bui Chu. He was locked in cell 4 with a fellow prisoner named KHUAN, Nguyen Duc. During the lunch time of food distribution, Father MAI asked TRUONG to go to cell 3 to have a smoke. Taking advantage of this. MAI passed to Father NGUYEN, Chuong Huy a small pocket of rice powder, gift of NGUYEN, Khuan Duc. But TRUONG saw what he did. When the food distribution was over, TRUONG returned with BUI, opened the door to cell 4 and pulled Fr MAI out. TRUONG and BUI started to beat Father MAI, very heavily. The beating  was so severe that the sound  of each hit could be heard from the surrouding ceells, including mine, which all had closed doors. When they finished, TRUONG and BUI took Father MAI toput him to lock his legs. When passing my cell(cell 3), I saw that Father MAI's face was swollen, and that he was bleeding from the nose.


I remember another incident that happpened on or about May 2 1979. I remember that day well. On that day, 5 people attempted to escape:


1.NGUYEN Thuyen Si, a high school professor.


2.TRINH Tieu, an old Colonel in the Republic of Vietnam  army


3.DANG Tiep Van, a congressman from the Republic of Vietnammade


4.LAM Van Thanh, a bus owner and driver


5.NGUYEN Le Huu, a Catholic Priest



They were all in cell 1 which was located next to my cell(i.e.cell 3). I could hear them digging the entire night before they finally dug through the wall. Their escape was discovered in the morning of May 2, 1979, when the guards made the morning security roll call. Father NGUYEN Le Huu, DANG Tiep Van, and NGUYEN Thuyen Si had made it out of the camp, and they were down river when the guards arrested them.


From my cell, I could hear BUI and the guards cursing and beating the escapees when they got back into the camp. DANG Tiep Van died that day as  a result of  of the extreme beating he receiandved. Rev.NGUYEN Le Huu and another escapees were beaten  very heavily as well; Rev. NGUYEN Le Huu and NGUYEN Thuyen Si, lost consciousness for almost a day. After the beating, TRINH Tieu who was left in the same cell with LAM Van Thanh, told me later when he was locked with the same cell as me, that LAM Van Thanh had died as a result  of the beating and starvation. TRINH Tieu told me that everyone in the camp including BUI knew that LAM Van Thanh had stomach problems and could only eat soup. After the escape attempt, BUI had to take food to them, but BUI threw the soup away instead of giving it to LAM Van Thanh. LAM Van Thanh died on May 6 1979.


I was released from the re-education camp on 11/3/1987. I subsequently escaped from Vietnam by boat to the Philippines.



I am available and I am willing to testify against BUI if needed.



I have read the foregoing statement , consisting of 2 pages. I state that the answers made herein are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief., and that this statement is a full, true and correct record mine interview on the date indicated by the above-named officers of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. I have initiallled each page of this statement.





                     PHAM Hoa Quy