Akui Leong, also known as Francisco Lui, was born in Hatu Udo and raised in the Chinese community of Same in East Timor’s southern mountain region, which in Portuguese times was a relatively flourishing community, having its own school. As a young man he identified with the East Timorese nationalist cause and later decided to work for the resistance movement against the Indonesian occupation of 1975-1999.
In the early 1990s he became the driver of resistance commander Xanana Gusmao, transporting him on perilous journeys from mountain camps to Dili, where he sometimes travelled to consult other resistance figures. In the interview with Living Memory he describes one such journey from the Kablaki mountains to the capital.
He describes also his subsequent capture at his house in Dili by Indonesian soldiers in November 1992. He was taken to the SGI Colmera interrogation centre, where he suffered severe torture over several weeks from interrogators seeking to discover the whereabouts of Xanana Gusmao. He was later joined there in his suffering by fellow-resistants Mau Hudo (later to serve briefly as guerrilla commander), Henrique Belmiro and Vasco da Gama.
Akui Leong tells how he withstood the torture, never revealing Gusmao’s whereabouts. He still suffers the after-effects, particularly in his feet, permanently damaged by the ‘chair torture’.
This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States
Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Place of Interview: Dili, East Timor (Timor-Leste)
Credits: Interviewer: Jill Jolliffe, Cinematographer: Dean Adams
Other Names: Francisco Lui; Date of Birth: 1964-10-06; Prisons: Hato Udo, East Timor (Timor-Leste); Other Prisoners: Indoinesian commandos, SGI base Colmera.; Perpetrators: GI Colmera, Dili, Farol, Balide prison.