Vietnamese comedian turns to new lawyer in U.S. child sex case

By Thoai Ha   May 13, 2016 | 05:13 pm GMT+7
Popular Vietnamese comedian Hong Quang Minh, who was arrested in California on suspicion of sexually assaulting a young boy, has hired a new lawyer to be his legal representative at his second court hearing that is taking place today.

The new lawyer is Japanese- American Mia Yamamoto will replace two Vietnamese lawyers who attended the first hearing last month.

Minh Beo, his stage name, decided to turn to new lawyer yesterday after a friend convinced him to do so.

“Minh told his brother that the friend promised to pay all the fees for the lawyer,” Minh's uncle Thien Thanh said.

The new lawyer is a trans-woman, with over 30 years of legal experience. In 2002, she was voted among the 100 most influential lawyers in California.


Mia Yamamoto. Photo by asianamericapodcast

Thien Thanh, his uncle told VnExpress that Minh’s former lawyer, Do Phu said that evidence of Minh’s crime was unclear. All the messages between Minh and an undercover police officer who pretended to be a child were written in Vietnamese without accents, so were easily misunderstood.

Minh was reportedly holding auditions for a project he was working on in California, and is accused of forcing a boy to perform oral sex on March 23 when the victim arrived for the audition. The boy reported the incident to police and an investigation was launched, the Orange County Register reported, citing prosecutors.

The next day, an undercover officer posing as a minor contacted Minh, prosecutors said. Minh is accused of attempting to set up a meeting with the officer with the intent of committing a sexual assault.

Police arrested Minh on March 24, and he was charged with one count each of oral copulation of a minor, attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child under the age of 14, and meeting with a minor with the intent to engage in lewd conduct.


Minh performs in a show

At present, Vietnam and the US haven’t signed mutual legal assistance agreements, so violators are punished in accordance with laws of the country where they commit the crime.

If convicted of the charges he faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and eight months, and a lifetime sex offender registration, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement to local media.

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