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Vietnamese comedian jailed in US for sex crimes

Dec 17. 2016
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By Agence France-Presse

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LOS ANGELES - A popular Vietnamese comedian was sentenced in California on Friday to 18 months in prison on a charge of sexually assaulting a minor.

Minh Quang Hong, who goes by the stage name Minh Beo, had pleaded guilty in August to the felony charge as well as another charge of attempting to commit a lewd act on a child under the age of 14.

According to Orange County prosecutors, the 38-year-old entertainer -- well known in Vietnam as an actor, comedian and stage director -- had easy access to children and in March had traveled to the United States for shows in the states of Georgia and California.

While in Huntington Beach, south of Los Angeles, he met with a group of dancers at a radio station talent show and told them he would be auditioning for a video project, prosecutors said.

A few days later, he had oral sex with a 16-year-old who showed up for the audition and later reported the assault to police.

An undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old teen then set up a meeting with Minh, who arranged by phone to have oral sex with the fictitious boy.

Under the plea agreement, once Minh serves his sentence he must register as a sex offender for life.

Prosecutor Bobby Taghavi told AFP that the comedian, who has been in custody since March, is already eligible for release based on accrual of "good time" credits while in jail.

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