Phu Quoc Prison is a historical destination on the pearl island. This is a Communist POW camp located in An Thoi ward, south of the island. This is a bloody historical relic during the Vietnam War, having held up to 40,000 prisoners through the ages. More than 4,000 people have died and tens of thousands of people have been disabled.
1. Phu Quoc prison through historical periods
Before visiting Phu Quoc prison, let's find out with Dong Travel through overview information about this tourist destination in Phu Quoc.
1.1 French colonial period
In September 1946, the French colonialists returned to occupy Phu Quoc. This island has a strategic military position, far from the mainland. Its remote location from the media makes it a very suitable place for prisoners of war to be easily suppressed and exploited. And so, this place became the largest prison in Southeast Asia.
Phu Quoc prison is also known as Cay Dua prison (Source: sparta_trang)
Coconut tree prison (the name of Phu Quoc prison at that time) has an area of about 40 hectares, divided into camps A, B, C and D. Around the prison is surrounded by barbed wire fence, above are ceiling lights. and wires to prevent prisoners from escaping.
In 1954, the prison held about 14,000 prisoners. After more than a year in detention, 99 prisoners died and about 200 escaped. When the Geneva Agreement was signed, the French colonialists returned prisoners to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
See more experiences of going to Phu Quoc from Dong Travel through the article.
1.2 The US - Wei period
At the end of 1955, the Republic of Vietnam continued to build a 4-hectare prison in the old Cang Cay Dua. This place is named Coconut Tree Main Training Camp or Coconut Tree Jail. The total area of the prison is more than 20000m2, divided into the housing area for female, male and elderly prisoners.
By January 1956, more than 600 prisoners from the Bien Hoa Correctional Training Center were brought here. Later, many more political prisoners were also held in this prison. The brutal forms of torture were applied to prisoners of war, such as barbed-wire tiger cages, nailed to the knees, electrostimulation, etc.
After 7 months, many prison escapes took place, many prisoners were shot dead while crossing the fence.
In 1966, a new 400-hectare prison was built in An Thoi, about 2km from the Coconut Tree Main Training Camp. By 1975, the government of the Republic of Vietnam sent political prisoners to Con Dao prison and built more prisons in other places.
During the My Wei period, Phu Quoc prison held more than 32,000 prisoners. There are about 12,000 prisoners who are army and local soldiers, over 20000 people are militia and guerrillas of communes, hamlets and political cadres.
In addition, there are more than 2000 officers, non-commissioned officers, more than 100 prisoners who are qualified communist cadres and over 200 branch members. In May 1969, POWs successfully escaped from B2 area.
2. 8 historical items are still present at Phu Quoc prison
2.1. Gate of 8th Military Police Battalion
The gate of the 8th Military Police Battalion is made of solid brick and iron core, forming two square pillars on both sides. This relic has been restored to look exactly like the original.
2.2. Prisoner's Graveyard
The cemetery of prisoners of war has an area of over 20000 m2, located about 1 km from the point of Division B2 - the point of the prison camp. The cemetery is designed in a circular shape, in the middle there is a rectangular block, above it is a monument shaped like a fist. Show the heroic, resilient and indomitable spirit of our nation and fallen heroes.
2.3. Kien Van Church at Phu Quoc Prison
Kien Van Church has an area of more than 4000 m2. However, now there are only ruins with a few pieces of wall, cement foundation and corner columns.
2.4. Additional display of relics of Phu Quoc prison
The gallery is built of reinforced concrete. Divided into 2 rooms with 43 artifacts and more than 100 documentary images. The first room contains historical artifacts and the process of prison formation and existence. The other room keeps records of the torture methods of the enemy as well as the way our nation bravely and staunchly resisted during the war.
2.5. Subdivision B2 in Phu Quoc prison
Subdivision B2 has now been restored with an area of more than 17000 m2. This place includes the following items: watchtowers, barbed wire fences, prison gates, barbed-wire tiger cages, kitchens, rows of houses used to hold and torture prisoners, solitary confinement rooms,...
2.6. Martyrs' Monument at Phu Quoc Prison
Monument to the martyrs on Sim hill has an area of more than 12000 m2 and is built of reinforced concrete. On both sides of the memorial is a blue wave-shaped symbol about 5m high. In the middle is a cube about 2m high, hollowed out to create a humanoid symbol with the meaning of "people leaving from that place".
Martyrs' Monument - "people who left that place" (Source: collectibles)
2.7. Gate of 7th Military Police Battalion
The gate of the 7th Military Police Battalion was restored with solid bricks and iron cores, forming two square pillars on both sides. It is 4.1m high and 0.85m wide. The gate is surrounded by a fence. Next to the gate post is a brief introduction to the 7th Military Police Battalion.
2.8. Gate and House of Prison Command at Phu Quoc Prison
Currently, the prison gate and command house have been restored with reinforced concrete, wooden windows and corrugated iron roof. The main gate is made of iron rods and barbed wire.
3. Detailed guide to visit Phu Quoc prison
The entire area of Phu Quoc prison is about 400 hectares, including about 500 houses and divided into 12 zones (type 2 subdivisions) and 10 zones (type 4 subdivisions marked A, B, C, D). Each cell holds about 300 prisoners.
Around each subdivision, there are 4 guard towers, guarded 24/24, accompanied by 10 mobile guard towers. Phu Quoc prison uses up to 10 layers of barbed wire wrapped around. Around the prison, there are absolutely no residents living, like an isolated area separate from the outside.
Today, area B2 recreates the image of Phu Quoc prison (Source: anna_le._)
When visiting Phu Quoc prison, visitors will hear explanations about the struggle for independence and freedom of the Vietnamese revolutionary soldier. It was a heroic and painful struggle filled with colors and tears, showing the heroic fighting spirit of Vietnamese soldiers.
Today, subdivision B2 is used as a place to recreate the image of Phu Quoc prison.
Coming here, visitors will be told about the barbaric tortures that the French - American authorities carried out such as locking prisoners in a tiger cage with barbed wire above, hot sand below. More brutally, they also nailed nails to your knees, to your forehead, burned you with high voltage lamps, and many other forms of barbarism.
The brutal tortures described at the Phu Quoc prison ruins (Source: anna_le._)
But those brutal tortures did not erode the soldier's loyalty. With their indomitable spirit and ingenuity, the prisoners applied many different forms of struggle to divide the enemy's ranks.
The most miraculous was the escape of 21 soldiers through the tunnel dug by themselves (120m long, 60cm wide) with spoons, iron stakes, camen,... in 6 months.
Today, visiting Phu Quoc prison is an activity that attracts many tourists. This is also the place where many war veterans return to visit the old battlefields, light incense sticks to commemorate the comrades who were born and died in the resistance war for national independence.
4. Historical significance of Phu Quoc prison relic
Phu Quoc prison relic is known as "hell on earth", is the place where so much terrible pain took place when the nation was invaded by the French colonialists and the American empire. This is the largest Vietnamese communist prisoner of war camp, holding up to 40,000 soldiers and prisoners and about 4,000 people were killed by barbaric tortures.
In 1995, the prison was recognized as a national historic site. Over time, this place has become a tourist destination visited by many domestic and foreign tourists.
5. Experiences not to be missed in the Phu Quoc prison ruins
5.1. Witness the torture scene in Division 2 being recreated with your own eyes
This is the site of a realistic reconstruction of the brutal and brutal torture scenes at the prison. Wartime stories are told by effigies of soldiers and prisoners. Visitors who witness the re-enactment of the cruel scene during the period of our people's struggle for independence will certainly feel pity.
Images of brutal beatings are reproduced (Source: thanhvannt2002)
5.2. Visiting the solitary confinement and torture room at Phu Quoc prison
The solitary confinement room and torture were an obsession for many revolutionary fighters at that time. Because in this place, the cruel colonial empire used brutal forms of torture on the heroes and soldiers of our nation.
5.3. Sightseeing and learning the tortures of the colonial empire
Former prisoners have recounted a number of tortures in Phu Quoc prison such as:
Barbed tiger cage
Many barbed-wire cages of different sizes for the imperialists to confine our soldiers. There are cages for prisoners lying on the ground, others for prisoners lying on barbed wire, cages in which prisoners can only sit stooped,... All prisoners are forced to take off their clothes and soak them in the rain. sunshine for many days.
The barbed-wire cage holds prisoners (Source: alinakuptsova77)
To torture the prisoners' mind and body, the cruel soldiers nailed 3-inch or 7-inch nails into the prisoners' body parts such as knees, head, neck,...
The prisoners had their teeth chiseled by the soldiers, and their teeth were broken with hammers.
Another cruel torture that prisoners suffered was being put in sacks and dropped into a pan of boiling oil.
Foreign invaders applied barbaric torture methods at Phu Quoc prison (Source: anna_le._)
6. Information to visit Phu Quoc prison
♦ Address: 350 Nguyen Van Cu, An Thoi commune, Phu Quoc district
♦ Opening time: 8:00 to 11:30 am and 13:30 to 17:00 daily.
♦ Ticket price: free, if you want to learn more information about the prison, you can hire a guide
♦ Ticket price: free, if you want to learn more information about the prison, you can hire a guide
7. Some notes when visiting Phu Quoc prison ruins
♦ The historical site of Phu Quoc prison is the place where many sufferings of the nation took place. This place is sacred, solemn and very reverent. Visitors here need to dress politely and discreetly. Avoid dressing that affects people and the atmosphere of this place is dignified
♦ When visiting the prison, you are not allowed to touch or affect the displayed artifacts and related furniture in the prison.
♦ Visitors can bring food and drinks. However, it is necessary to ensure hygiene, dispose of garbage in the right place, to avoid affecting the general hygiene of the historical site.
♦ There is a snack shop and a gift shop here. If you want to buy souvenirs or gifts for relatives and friends, please stop by.
♦ Normally, visitors will take 1-2 hours to explore the prison, you should consider to arrange a suitable schedule.
The historical relic of Phu Quoc prison is the place to save the pain of our ancestors during the resistance war against foreign invaders. Therefore, when traveling to Phu Quoc, you should spend a little time to visit this place, to better understand the price that your ancestors' generation sacrificed to gain independence and freedom for the nation.