Nguyễn Ngọc Loan

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Nguyễn Ngọc Loan (born December 11, 1931 in Huế , Vietnam , † July 14, 1998 in Burke , Virginia , USA ) was a South Vietnamese general and police chief of Saigon during the Vietnam War . Worldwide known he was in 1968 by the shooting of the Vietnamese Vietcong -Angehörigen Nguyễn Văn Lém western front of the television cameras reporter.

Youth and career

Nguyễn Ngọc Loan was the oldest of eleven children of a mechanical engineer. He completed his studies at the University of Hu als as one of the best in his class and then began a career as a jet pilot with the South Vietnamese Air Force .

One of his fellow pilots and best friends, Nguyễn Cao Kỳ , elected Prime Minister of South Vietnam in 1965 , made Loan the post of police chief of Saigon.

The execution of the Viet Cong fighter

Loan was reputed by Western reporters for having a rampant temper and was known for his outbursts of anger when the Viet Cong attacked civilians.

On February 1, 1968 one day after the start of the Tet Offensive , he killed in Saigon in broad daylight and in front of the cameras of Western reporters with a headshot to just arrested 34-year-old FNL fighters Nguyễn Văn Lém ( "nom" Bảy LOP ) . According to the police chief, he was directly involved in the murder of the family of a police officer.

There is a film recording of the execution of Nguyễn Văn Léms by NBC cameraman Vo Suu and a picture taken by AP photographer Eddie Adams at the moment of death. This photograph in particular went around the world and is not only considered to be one of the most harrowing visual documents of the Vietnam War, but also became a symbol of the increasing importance of mass media in warfare due to international reactions. It was voted Press Photo of the Year in 1968, and Adams received the Pulitzer Prize for it the following year .

As Adams later explained, he regretted having published the photo, saying that it would have caused Nguyễn Ngọc Loan great trouble. In his opinion, the photo had been misinterpreted. In an interview he said: "Anyone would have pulled the trigger at that point."

Further life

The journalist Oriana Fallaci interviewed Nguyễn in August 1968. The portrait was published on August 16, 1968 in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit .

Nguyễn Ngọc Loan fled to the USA in 1975 before the conquest of Saigon by the Vietnamese People's Army and later opened a pizzeria in Virginia under a false name . But he had to close this again in 1991 because his past had become known, the customers stayed away and he was threatened.

Attempts to prosecute him for the public shooting in the United States were dismissed on the grounds that he could not be held accountable in the United States for an act committed in South Vietnam.

Nguyễn Ngọc Loan died in Burke on 14 July 1998 of cancer .


  • Stephan Schwingeler, Dorothée Weber: The real face of the war. The execution in Saigon of Eddie Adams. The emergence of an icon against the background of its publication history in the print media. In: Critical Reports . 33.2005. Jonas, Marburg 2005, pp. 36-50, ISSN  0340-7403 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Die Zeit August 16, 1968, reprint 2011: online