The Boat People
Repression was especially severe on the ethnic Chinese population, which had controlled much of South Vietnam’s commerce. The new government hit them with taxes, restrictions on trade and confiscation of their businesses. Hundreds of thousands escaped by boat through the 1990s – many dying at sea or victimized by pirates. More than one-half of the survivors settled in the United States. The Vietnamese government and its officials profited from the refugees. The cost of exit permits was about $3,000 for per person, not including bribes, which varied according to how much money the refugees had.