Man returns after four decades from Cambodian battlefield
  • By Xuan Sinh | | November 09, 2018 07:31 PM

Pham Van Binh who was believed to have died in a battlefield in Cambodia 39 years ago has just returned home to the central province of Ha Tinh.

Pham Van Binh (centre) meets with his old friends at his home in Ha Tinh Province on November 8 after 39 years

On November 8, relatives and friends of Binh's family gathered at My Thuan Village in Ky Anh District to welcome the 64-year-old man home.

Family reunion after 39 years. Photo by Bao Ha Tinh

According to the family, Binh joined the army in 1977 and was sent to fight in Cambodia's Kampong Thom Province in December that year.

He was injured in a fight in 1979 and was found and saved by local people in Baray District. He lost all his personal papers. Due to his memory being badly affected by the injuries, he lost contact with his army unit.

Binh married to a local woman and worked as a worker at a rubber plantation. They have a 10-year-old daughter and are living in a poor remote village with no access to electricity or clean water in Baray District in Cambodia.

Speaking about Binh's journey home, his nephew Pham Trung Hieu, 51, said that a local man who recently came to live in Cambodia knew about Binh's story and shared it on his Facebook.

"We've contacted him for verification and came to Cambodia to help him return home," Hieu said. "It was like a dream for both me and my uncle. I was just 12 when he left but we immediately recognised one another when we met after 39 years."

Binh burns incense at his family's altar

Chairman of Ky Son Commune People's Committee, Nguyen Anh Ngoc, said that after receiving report about Pham Van Binh, local authorities have helped with the necessary documents so that he can return home on November 7.

"After a long time missing, Binh had been recognised as a war martyr since 1993," Ngoc said. "His death notice said he died on February 21, 1979 which was the date he went missing after a fight in Cambodia. Now we are going to issue personal papers for him again."

A file photo of Binh besides his wife and daughter in Cambodia. Photo by Bao Ha Tinh

Expressing about his plan for future, the returning man said he would try to persuade his wife and daughter to come to live in his home country.

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