“Freedom Fighter,” Hijacker Ly Tong


The history of 65-year-old former pilot and political activist Ly Tong may contain as much fact as legend, but this much is certain: In 1992 he hijacked an Airbus A310-200, he used it to spread leaflets, and then he parachuted from the jet into a swamp. Ly Tong says his actions that day were an attempt to inspire a people’s uprising in Vietnam, his former homeland. His goal was to take the country back from the communist government. That didn’t happen. Instead, he found himself, for the second time in his life, serving time in a Vietnamese prison. But that didn’t keep him from trying again, and not just in Vietnam.

To his worst critics, Ly Tong is a reckless eccentric whose actions endanger not only himself but the population of entire countries. To Ly Tong, each of his aerial exploits has been a mission to promote freedom, democracy and human rights. To his supporters, he is nothing less than a true hero. Ly Tong’s story is our Friday podcast. Click here to listen and/or download the audio transcript.