Vang Pao's Exoneration Brings Joy to Hmong Community

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The phone has been ringing off the hook at the Westminster home of Vang Pao, the former CIA-backed Laotian Secret Army general Nick Schou wrote about.

That's because the federal government late last week dropped charges claiming the 79-year-old in poor health tried to overthrow the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

 

"We've been getting so many calls, we don't even have time to ask who they are," Chi Vang, Vang's 24-year-old son, told the Los Angeles Times. "His supporters can't wait to see him to celebrate this momentous occasion."

News that the charges against his father were dropped brought a "huge sigh of relief," according to the younger Vang. "We are excited and relieved at the same time to get this behind us. We have been waiting for this moment for two years."

Revered as a hero by the Hmong-American community, the older Vang had served months behind bars before being released on bail in 2007. He had been confined to his home since then and only allowed to speak with family members and lawyers under the terms of his bail.

While the charges against Vang were dropped, they have been maintained and, in some cases, more have been added against his dozen co-defendants in the case being heard in a Sacramento federal court.

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