A Vietnamese comedian pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of sexually assaulting an underage boy last month in Orange County.Minh Quang Hong, 38, of Garden Grove, was also caught in a sting by Garden Grove police in which an officer posed as a 13-year-old boy Hong allegedly agreed to meet with for sex, according to Deputy District Attorney Bobby Taghavi.
Hong, who goes by the stage name Minh Beo and does standup comedy and humorous skits, was on the road from Vietnam to Orange County and Atlanta when he met the alleged victim, Taghavi said.
Hong told a group of dancers at a Huntington Beach radio station talent show on March 20 that he was holding auditions for a video, Taghavi said. Three days later, he allegedly sexually assaulted the victim when he arrived for an audition, the prosecutor said.
After the boy went to Garden Grove police, the department used the boy’s cell phone to stage a sting, and Hong showed up for a meeting with the fictitious 13-year-old on March 24, Taghavi said.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas made an appearance in a Santa Ana courtroom Friday at Hong’s arraignment. Bail was kept at $1 million and Hong was ordered to return to court May 13 for a pretrial hearing.
Hong’s attorney, Phu Do Nguyen, argued that his client is not a flight risk and would surrender his passport and submit to some sort of electronic monitoring.
“I think it’s a little bit unfair,” Nguyen said of the bail. “But it’s election season. I think the bail was a little bit high — it should be about $100,000.”
Nguyen declined to comment on the allegations, saying he has not yet received all of the evidence filed against his client.
“I’m going to do my own investigation and take a look at what the district attorney has,” Nguyen said. “All I can say is everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. He’s lucky to be on trial in America because this is a free country. He loves to be in America and he loves being here. This is a great country.”
Hong splits his time between Vietnam and Garden Grove, where he often stays with relatives, Nguyen said.
Hong was charged with a count of oral copulation of a minor, a count of attempting to commit a lewd act on a child younger than 14 and a count of meeting with a minor to engage in lewd conduct, all felonies. He could face up to five years and eight months in prison if he is convicted.
— City News Service
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