The coded message

In our life, we have many memories. But there are some memories that we can never forget even though the time already passed long time a go.

In 1972, our side opened up a strategic offensive by launching the Nguyen Hue Military Campaign which changed the correlation of forces in the battlefield.

The enemy strengthened their suppression and terrorism in the prisons at the Con Dao islands during that time. In the end of 1971, after such suppression, they sent all the sick prisoners from the Cowsheds to Tiger Cases 7 and dispersed each prisoner into ” each Tiger Case”

In order to cope with such situation and to continue leading the struggling movement, the prisoners from various areas agreed to establish the Communist Party Committee in the area of Tiger Cases. The secretary of the Party Committee was Pham Trong Danh ( so called in the prison) that really was Le Thanh Hai ( Mười Hải ) , former member of Regional Party Committee, secretary of Binh Tan sub-region before he was captured. I was arranged to work with Comrade Ngo Tai that really was Comrade Nguyen Van Bong ( Tư Bông, now former Deputy Head of the City Procecution Institute) and Comrade Truyen to be in charge of the liaison station located at the dispensary of the area of the Tiger Cases to communicate between the areas and between the area of Tiger Cases and the outsides. Among the persons in charge there was also Comrade Ho Thai Hoa ( so called in the prison )  now he is Nam Khoa ( Do Hoang Hai, Director of Fideco )  and Comrade Ton That Huong ( Nam Loc ) , now former permanent member of the City Labour Federation. We directly arranged doctor Phan Sung ( our comrade was captured and jailed )  as a liaison  man between the area of Tiger Cases and the Islands.

We also arranged Comrade Giao, a nurse in the area of Tiger Cases ( now he is office chief of Vung Tau City Party Committee )  in charge of contacting between the areas. Giao worked together with Vo Huu Thanh. The liaison system worked smoothly for over one year ( from 1971 to the end of 1972 ) .

One day, when Giao acting as a messenger going from the dispensary to the areas in the prison, he was found red-handed to have a coded message letter written by me at Area E  by the prison guards. This coded message was disguised and stuffed in an empty medical capsule. Then the prison guards reported and submitted the coded message letter to Bay Duc, Head of the Tiger Case Area.

To confront the situation of ” within a inch of our life ”  ( too dangerous situation ) , we gained a lesson of  ” bone and blodd” experience in the prison : To save ourselves is only to Attack, no other choice. So I urgently organized a meeting with the team in charge consisting of myself, Ta Van Nguy ( now former permanent member of Cu Chi District Party Committee )  and Vo Huu Thanh ( now Director of Housing Development Company of District 1 )  to evaluate the situation as follows : ” Normally, Bay Duc – the Head of the Tiger Cases – will submit the coded message letter to the Lord of the Islands and then they will open up a brutal and violent exploitation so as to find the way to raid our long-time suspected  liaison line but they did not identify any clue ” . Bases on such analysis, we encouraged ourselves ” to decide to die” to protect the revolutionary bases in the prison. On the other hand, we could not passively wait for the death to come but had to attack by dispatching Ta Van Nguy to go and meet Bay Duc, the Head of the Tiger Case Area and tell him clearly : ” The revolutionary forces will definitely win the war and the victory will not be so far. You are proposed to  overlook this case and it is confirmed that if you overlook this case it means that you have a huge contribution to the fatherland and the revolution; the revolution forces will never forget your meritorious contribution”. Upon listening to these words, Bay Duc kept quiet and asked Nguy to go back to his place. During that night, four of us: myself, Nguy , Thanh and Giao could not sleep, lying down and waiting for them to come to take us away for investigation. There was a very minor hope to have By Duc persuaded.

In the early next morning, By Duc invited Nguy to come to his office. He said with a tense and emotional voice : ”  I could not sleep all night long, I think you are right, I think I should reserve a good deed of virtue for my children. Therefore, I promise with you that I will destroy that document and you are required to keep this secret…”

When the South of Vietnam was just liberated, the prisoners  in the area of Tiger Cases first , then the whole islands made the uprising to seize the political power and ConDao islands. At that time, Ta Van Nguy was appointed as the Military Chief of the area of the Tiger Cases. Immediately , he invited Bay Duc to his military headquarters. Upon stepping into the office of the headquarters, Bay Duc was all of  a tremble with fear. Even though, Ta Van Nguy invited him to sit down, he dared no to take a seat. Right after that, Ta Van Nguy moderately said to him : ” To day, I invite you to come here to realize our commitment for having ” overlooked ”  the coded message which was considered as your big contribution toward the revolutionary cause. Therefore, from now on you are free”. Mr. Bay Duc was so happy that he was supposed to knee for gratitude. But Nguy stopped him from doing so and said : ” You should not do so. Actually, we must say thanks to you”

Before going back to the mainland, Nguy wrote a guarantee letter sponsoring Mr. Bay Duc toward the ConDao revolutionary authorities. Therefore, after the liberation time until now, Mr. Bay Duc and his family have received the kind treatment from the ConDao  government . At present the daughter and the son-in-law of Mr. Bay Duc are government employees.

Mr. Bay Duc died of tuberculosis in 1985. When going on a pilgrimage trip to the ConDao islands together with the City Communist Youth Group, I visited Mr. Bay Duc’s family . All his family was so moved when I told  them the righteous and brave action of Mr. Bay Duc.

As for me, this is an unforgettable memory in my revolutionary life. Mr. Hai Hoa, chairman of ConDao islands and I were grieved while standing to present a stick of incense before the altar of Mr. Bay Duc. We said to him with murmur : ” The merits of contributing the bone and blood  to the revolution are of the whole people including that of Mr. Bay Duc, the Head of the Area No 7 of the Tiger Cases”

In commemorating the 30 April 1975,

20 years after the Liberation of South Vietnam and ConDao Islands,

NGUYEN CHON TRUNG

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