Vietnam war pair leave forest ‘after four decades’

August 10, 2013 7:40 am
Ho Van Thanh receives medical care after he and his son were taken back to their village in Quang Ngai on August 8, 2013/AFP
Ho Van Thanh receives medical care after he and his son were taken back to their village in Quang Ngai on August 8, 2013/AFP

, HANOI August 10- A father and son who allegedly fled war four decades ago to live deep in Vietnam’s forests have been coaxed from their hideout, state media said Friday.

Local television footage released Friday showed Ho Van Thanh, 82, and his son, Ho Van Lang, 42, emerge bedraggled from the remote mountainous region on Wednesday in an emaciated condition, wearing loincloths made from tree bark.

Media reports said former guerrilla Thanh ran away with his then two year old son Lang from a communist village in central Quang Ngai province in a grief stricken state following the death of his mother and two of his other children in an American bombing in 1972.

Television footage showed authorities apparently taking the pair against their will from their forest home several hours walk from his home village, with the frail old man carried in a hammock by local people while the son was pictured with restraints around his hands.

The pair were found “staying in a hut about five metres from the ground and both men were dressed only in loincloths made of tree bark,” Tuoi Tre newspaper said, adding they were found with several handmade tools.

The pair can speak only a very little of their ethnic Kor language.

The men were first brought back home by a younger son in 2004, Dan Tri online newspaper said quoting local authorities, but they could not adapt to living in the village and returned to their forest home.

The pair “preferred their independent life to that of the traditional Vietnamese family”, the report said.

The younger son visited them once every year, providing some necessities.

But they were recently spotted by local residents and reported to the authorities who drew them from the forest on Wednesday, Tuoi Tre newspaper added.

The men were reported to have survived on fruit and corn they had cultivated.

Lang reportedly “chewed betel and smoked continuously, glancing at everybody around him with a dull look”, according to the Tuoi Tre report.

Local authorities and family members have expressed concern that the men may not be able to adapt to normal life, reports said.

The father is under medical treatment for exhaustion while the son is living with relatives.


Latest Articles

Most Viewed