By: Debra Gersh Hernandez
in the USA as journalists p. 10
AMONG THE IMMIGRANT journalists killed on U.S. soil and featured in a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists, eight are believed to be victims of political assassinations.
Between 1981 and 1990, five Vietnamese-American journalists were killed, attempts were made on the lives of three more, and others were victims of death threats, beatings and vandalism. A death squad called the Vietnamese Organization to Exterminate Communists and Restore the Nation has taken responsibility for most of the murders and violence.
Three Haitian radio journalists working in Miami were shot and killed between 1991 and 1993. All were outspoken supporters of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The murders have led other Haitian radio talk-show hosts to check what they say on the air and to watch their backs.
The following are their stories summarized from the CPJ report, due out in September, “Silenced: The Unsolved Murders of Immigrant Journalists in the United States.”
? Duong Trong Lam was killed in front of his San Francisco apartment July 21, 1981. His advocacy of better relations with Hanoi was considered unacceptable. The death squad claimed responsibility. A Vietnamese man was charged with murder, but a mistrial was declared after a witness recanted his testimony. The case is unsolved.
? Nguyen Dam Phong left Vietnam in 1975 and published a small Houston weekly called Tu Do, Vietnamese for freedom. Phong criticized exile groups he believed were extorting money from immigrants under the guise of fighting communism in Vietnam. He received death threats before he was killed Aug. 24, 1982. A death list from the same group was found in his house. His murder remains unsolved. His wife tried keep the weekly alive ? until her life was threatened.
? Tap Van Phan died Aug. 9, 1987, in an arson fire at the office of his magazine, Mai. The death squad took responsibility for the fire, apparently set because Phan accepted ads from Canadian cash-transfer companies doing business with Vietnam. Phan’s case is still open.
? Nhan Trong Do was shot dead Nov. 22, 1989, in front of his Fairfax, Va., home. A layout artist for the magazine Tien Phong, Do was not the target, but was mistaken for columnist Triet Le, who was murdered the next year. Do’s case is still open.
? Triet Le and his wife, Tuyet Thi Dangturn, were killed in front of their Bailey’s Crossroads, Va., home Sept. 22, 1990. Le also criticized exile groups for soliciting funds from refugees. Le’s name was on the death list found with Phong in 1982. The case is open.
? Jean-Claude Olivier became the first Haitian journalist killed in the United States when he was shot at point-blank range Feb. 18, 1991. Police arrested and tried a man believed to have driven the killer, and an appeal is slated for November.
? Fritz Dor was gunned down March 15, 1991, with the same weapon used in Olivier’s murder. In June 1993, a man pleaded guilty to being the lookout, but the gunman is still at large.
? Dona St. Plite was killed Oct. 24, 1993, at a benefit concert for Dor’s family. St. Plite’s name had appeared on a death list, and he had been warned to avoid the benefit. The case remains unsolved, although one man has been indicted and awaits trial.
?(Five Vietnamese-American journalists were killed, and attempts made on three more.) [Caption]