The French built it. It was a place to keep potential dissidents or revolutionaries. It was a place to avoid at all costs. They constructed Tiger Cages, a 5sqm room where breathing took up precious space. Prisoners were cramped together and poked with spiked sticks, much like tigers in a zoo. Up to 2000 inmates were sharing around 120 cells in the 1940s. Prisoners were shackled and held in the cells for indefinite periods. Võ Thị Sáu, a notorious female revolutionary, was executed at the prison. Nguyễn An Ninh, a political anti-colonialist, was also killed at the prison. Hàng Dương Cemetery is a memorial close to the prison which pays respect to the revolutionary fighters.
US Soldiers who were held in the 1960s/70s were abused and tortured at this place. In 1970, USAID came to visit along with democratic representatives. They were horrified at the conditions people endured at the camp. Inmates were cramped together and gasping for water. Many high-ranking leaders of Vietnam were also held captive here. The prison was closed shortly afterwards and reopened to the public within time. If you are fascinated by old prisons, this is a place to look around.
The Tiger Cages Prison is open from 08:00-18:00, seven days a week. Closed on public holidays. Admission is 30,000vnd.