• Short Summary

    AN AUSTRALIAN COLOMBO PLAN DAIRY EXPERT MR. WILFRED STANLEY ARTHUR WORKING IN SAIGON WAS KIDNAPPED?

  • Description

    AN AUSTRALIAN COLOMBO PLAN DAIRY EXPERT MR. WILFRED STANLEY ARTHUR WORKING IN SAIGON WAS KIDNAPPED BY THE VIET CONG COMMUNISTS ON NIGHT OF THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 21 AND WAS RELEASED THREE DAYS LATER.

    AUSTRALIAN COLOMBO PLAN ATTACHE AT THE AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY IN SAIGON MR. L. A. CROZIER NEGOTIATED THE RELEASE. HE WAS FORMERLY A MINING ENGINEER.

    MR. ARTHUR A FORMER RAAF GROUP CAPTAIN WON DSO AND DFC IN THE LAST WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND SOUTH PACIFIC AREA.

    AFTER HIS RELEASE ON SEPTEMBER 24 HE AND MR. CROZIER MET THE PRESS IN SAIGON NEXT DAY.

    MR. ARTHUR TOLD REPORTERS HE WAS DRIVING FROM THE DAIRY FARM AT BEN CAT, 45 MILES NORTH OF SAIGON, TOWARDS THE CAPITAL WHEN A BLACK-GARBED MAN STANDING ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD FLAGGED THE CAR DOWN. ON EACH SIDE OF THE MAN STOOD TWO OTHERS WITH RIFLES TRAINED ON THE CAR.

    THE INCIDENT OCCURRED ONLY 100 YARDS FROM AN ARMY LOOK-OUT POST.

    MR. ARTHUR SAID HE AND HIS INTERPRETER, MR. NGUYEN NGOC RAO, AND HIS DRIVER WERE BUSTLED ALONG A NARROW DIRT TRACK FOR ABOUT 100 YARDS WHERE THEY WERE TOLD TO LEAVE THE CAR.

    THEY WERE TEEN TAKEN 100 YARDS INTO A THICK SCRUB WHERE THEY FOUND THEMSELVES SURROUNDED BY ABOUT 24 COMMUNISTS ALL DRESSED IN BLACK.

    THE INTERPRETER WAS TOLD TO WRITE A RANSOM NOTE TO THE AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY. IT WAS TAKEN BY THE DRIVER WHILE THE COMMUNISTS HURRIED MR. ARTHUR AND THE INTERPRETER FARTHER INTO THE JUNGLE.

    THE LEADER OF THE COMMUNIST BAND GAVE MR. ARTHUR HIS OWN RAINCOAT AND HAT AND THE INTERPRETER WAS ALSO PROVIDED WITH A RAINCOAT.

    THEY HURRIED ON FOR AN HOUR AND A QUARTER AND CAME TO A SMALL VILLAGE WHERE THEY SAT ON THE MUD FLOOR OF A HUT AND STAYED THERE FOR THE NEXT THREE DAYS.

    DURING THIS TIME MR. ARTHUR WAS SUBJECTED TO MANY HOURS OF "GENERAL DISCUSSION, AS IT WAS DENIED BY THE COMMUNIST LEADER AND HIS ASSISTANT COMMISSAR.

    MR. CROZIER SAID THAT, MEANWHILE, HE HAD RECEIVED A RANSOM NOTE WHICH ASKED FOR A TYPEWRITER" DRUGS AND CHEMICALS APPARENTLY FOR MAKING EXPLOSIVES.

    MR. CROZIER SAID AFTER A LONG CONFERENCE AT THE AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY, IT WAS DECIDED SOMEONE SHOULD GO IN TO RANSOM MR. ARTHUR.

    HE WENT AS HE HAD PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE IN CONNECTING WITH POLITICAL KIDNAPPING IN BURMA.

    HE WAS UNABLE TO OBTAIN ALL THINGS THE COMMUNIST DEMANDED BUT HE TOOK A TYPEWRITER AND 25,000 PIASTRES (GBP125 STERLING) AND SET OFF WITH A DRIVE WHO HAVE BEEN TOLD BY THE COMMUNISTS TO GO TO THE PLACE OFF THE KIDNAPPING AT A SPECIFIED TIME ON FRIDAY.

    AS THEY NEARED THE AREA THEY SAW THE GOVERNMENT TROOPS OPERATING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE POINT FOR THEIR RENDEZVOUS.

    FINALLY A CONTACT WAS MADE AND MR. CROZIER WENT INTO THE JUNGLE TO NEGOTIATE.

    HE WAS TAKEN TO THE HUT WHERE MR. ARTHUR AND MR. RAO WERE LIVING.

    WITH MR. CROZIER'S ARRIVAL, A POLITICAL DISCUSSION HAD REACHED A HIGH POINT.

    MR. ARTHUR AND MR. CROZIER SAID THEY WERE NOT THREATENED WITH VIOLENCE AT ANY TIME.

    HOWEVER, THE INTERPRETER WAS FORCED TO SIT BESIDE AND OPEN GRAVE ON ONE OCCASION AND ON ANOTHER WAS BLIND-FOLDED AND LED OFF INTO THE JUNGLE WITH A ROPE AROUND HIS NECK.

    "MR. RAO WAS MAGNIFICENT AND VERY COURAGEOUS", MR. ARTHUR SAID. MR. RAO AGED 23, IS A REFUGEE FORM THE COMMUNIST NORTH VIETNAM.

    THE TWO MEN SAID THEY WERE GIVEN BEER AND CIGARETTES, AND ONCE A TURKEY WAS KILLED AND COOKED FOR THEM AS A SPECIAL TREAT.

    THE COMMUNISTS SEEMED DETERMINED TO BRING THEM TO A POINT OF ADMITTING THAT THE COLOMBO PLAN WAS MERELY A PLOT TO WIN THE PEOPLE'S CONFIDENCE AND THEN TO USE THIS FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES.

    MR. CROZIER SAID THE COMMISSAR WAS NOT ARMED.

    HE CARRIED A PAPER BAD FILLED WITH MONEY FROM WHICH HE PAID VILLAGER FOR EVERYTHING THE COMMUNISTS NEEDED.

    "HE WAS VERY METICULOUS ABOUT PAYING HIS BOARD EVERY DAY TO THE OWNER OF THE HOUSE IN WHICH WE WERE LIVING", HE SAID.

    MR. CROZIER SAID HE LAID A SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON THE FACT THAT, AS A RANSOMER, HE WAS THE COMMUNISTS' GUEST.

    MR. CROZIER SAID THE COMMUNISTS CRITICISED HIM FOR NOT BRINGING THE FULL RANSOM ALTHOUGH THE WORD "RANSOM" WAS NEVER USED.

    THE COMMUNISTS TOOK 25,000 PIASTRES FROM HIM ON HIS ARRIVAL BUT HANDED THE MONEY BACK BEFORE HE LEFT YESTERDAY.

    "NO MONEY CHANGED HANDS BUT I HAD 5,000 PIASTRES LESS WHEN I LEFT THAN WHEN I ARRIVED, "HE SAID.

    THE COMMUNISTS FIRST SAID THEY WOULD LET THE TWO AUSTRALIANS GO, BUT WOULD KEPT THE INTERPRETER.

    HOWEVER, MR. ARTHUR AND MR. CROZIER REFUSED TO LEAVE UNLESS MR. RAO A LONG DISCUSSION, THE COMMUNIST AGREED.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA6G0IODZHRKQJ914VF5XE1705W
    Media URN:
    VLVA6G0IODZHRKQJ914VF5XE1705W
    Group:
    Reuters - Incuding Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    28/09/1961
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:01:08:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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