Lo Voi Department is located on Nguyen Van Cu street. Visitors can travel by car to visit the relic from the center of Con Dao island. This department is seen as an indictment of the policyabout exploiting the labor of prisoners. These prisoners had to work hard all day, and were held in the dark rooms with the hunger, cold, the lack of rice, food,clothes at night.
In the early days, the facilities on the island are in privation condition. The French fully exploited the labor of prisoners. Lo Voi was built by the French since 1864. This is the typical evidence of the policies of labor exploitation. In addition, they applied a repressive regime with the prisoners to extinguish the will of the patriots against the French colonialists that time.
Lo Voi was extended in the period from 1920 to1921. It specialized in burning coral into lime and supplied for all the island. They held 4 to 5 teamsto run the burning. Workers were divided into two recipes: One regular dived to get coral at sea. They were forced to get enough 4 barges ofcoral every month. Other team of 12 people specialized in burning coral into lime which is used for construction of buildings, bridges and roads.
There are two seasons for harvest coral. They depended on the tide. They usually work at 1-2 am or in the evening at 11-12 pm from the 24th of a month. A team of about 80 prisoners assigned to work this hard work. If working at night they also bring extra 70 torches made of bottles. They retrieved coral in a distance of 2 to 33km from shore and anchored at the designated spots. According to the order of the warder, the group had to jumpimmediately into the cold water and deep up their neck under the faint light of 3 to 4 torches. They had to creep into the hole that were deep from 0,06m to 1,20m to take coral. They had broken their leg or their arm everyday, even their skull.
” The power of sea is so horrible ”
Lo Voi Department relic is an indictment of the policies of labor exploitation of prisoners.They had to work all day in the terrible conditions. And they were held in the dark rooms with the hunger, cold, the lack of rice, food,clothes at night. To the US imperialist phase, this prison systembecame a base for US troops. They also built more an annex in this area.
Lo Voi Department relic was especially recognized as a nation’s particularly important relic by Ministry of Culture – Information with decision No. 54-VHQD on 29th April 1979.It was also recognized as the nation’s particular relic by the Prime Minister with decision No.548 / QD-TTg on 10th May 2012.