Vietnamese boatpeople tell their stories for the first time to one of their rescuers, retired Hong Kong marine police officer Les Bird

For the 1,433 refugees fleeing Vietnam aboard rusty freighter the Sen On in May 1979, Les Bird was the first person they saw when the ship quite literally hit Hong Kong. The captain had abandoned the ship outside Macau and pointed the refugees in the general direction of Hong Kong.None of the refugees steering the vessel had any experience with ships. Chased by the Marine Police, they decided their best bet was to ram the Sen On into a sandy beach on Lantau Island, thus forcing the Hong Kong…


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