Minh Beo: From Vietnam's fatty comedian to accused child sex offender
File photo of Vietnamese entertainer Minh Beo
The arrest of the 38-year-old entertainer, who was charged on Friday last week with during his U.S. tour, has come as a shock to many people, including his fans, back in Vietnam.
Minh Beo, whose real name is Hong Quang Minh, is expected to appear in court on April 15 and faces up to five years and eight months in jail if convicted.
He was charged with three felony counts, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA).
They include one felony count of oral copulation of a minor, one felony count of attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child under the age of 14, and one felony count of meeting with a minor with the intent to engage in lewd conduct, according to an OCDA press release.
The comedian is now in custody, with his bail set at US$1 million.
If his family can afford 10 percent of the bail, Minh will be released and stand court on April 15, according to U.S.-based journalist Ngoc Lan.
Otherwise, Minh will be indicted in jail, Lan told (Youth) newspaper over the phone on Tuesday.
Phi Long, the vice chief judge of the Criminal Court of Ho Chi Minh City, said the penalties for child sex abuse in Vietnam are much heavier than in the U.S.
The jail term for the same charges Minh faces in the U.S. is up to 12 years, according to Vietnamese law, Long told .
A representative at the Consulate General of Vietnam in San Francisco told they will try to meet Minh directly to see if any protective action can be taken.
As a comedian, Minh Beo has performed on many different stages in theater, playing many well loved characters, as well as shooting several TV series. He is also a talented scriptwriter and has directed multiple plays and comedies.
He started his career with the name Minh Beo (Fatty Minh) thanks to his weight. At more than 100kg, he set a trend for other large-size artists to follow.
In 2013 Minh Beo inaugurated his own theater, Sao Minh Beo, in District 11, Ho Chi Minh City, and went on to establish a film company in late 2015.
“I would still let the show go on even if there is only one in the audience,” he once said.
The comedian has been the host of a charitable TV show called “Luc Lac Vang” (Golden Rattle) since its very first episode aired in 2011.
Every Sunday on national channel VTV, Luc Lac Van seeks out needy households in rural areas throughout Vietnam to give farmers cows and an initial sum of capital to start raising cattle.
The next episode of the program will be on air as usual on April 2, but without the host, according to a VTV source.
Luc Lac VangTuoi Tre
“We have edited the footage to omit scenes that include Minh Beo,” Ha Nam, head of the editorial board of TV programs at VTV, told .
Nam said the arrest of Minh Beo “gravely affected” the show.
Tran Minh Tien, general director of Lasta, the show’s producer, said they will seek an alternative host to replace Minh Beo.
“Generally speaking, we have suffered huge damage,” he said.
In the meantime, the Sao Minh Beo theater is still selling tickets for its weekend performances, including three plays and a children’s comedy.
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