Forty Years After the Fall of Saigon, Orange County's Annual Tet Festival Goes Plural

Chad Weaver/OC Weekly

It's about noon on Jan. 25, and hundreds of volunteers from more than a dozen Southern California schools are on their way to a shabby-looking business park in a sparsely populated area of west Garden Grove. The Santa Anas are blowing, and as the students approach the parking lots, they see fellow volunteers awaiting them, their hands holding pamphlets and pieces of paper to shield their eyes from the sun, heat and dust.

The greeters point the volunteers toward the headquarters of the Southern California chapter of the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations (UVSA), a building that also houses the offices of a company that sells e-cigarettes and an American Apparel-esque clothing factory, though it's Vietnamese making clothes instead of Mexicans. Everyone is there to help organize UVSA's upcoming Tet festival, scheduled to happen in less than a month.

Outside the building, several dozen young women congregate and socialize. They're almost dressed in uniform: dyed hair (some ombre, some with highlights), 3-inch heels, and either short shorts or knee-length dresses appropriate for the 85-degree weather. They're tying friendship bracelets around one another's wrists as they work together to make sure the Tet festival's pageant, a major part of the weekend's planned cultural programming, goes off without a hitch.

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Sex Tape Extortion Plot Involving Vietnamese Immigrants Ends With Little Saigon Arrest

A 46-year-old Little Saigon man is in custody today after being a federal fugitive from Texas for allegedly threatening to publicly release a homemade sex tape of himself and a married woman if she didn't pay him $50,000 to keep her adultery quiet.

The Vietnamese immigrant, Minh San Nguyen (a.k.a. "Minhson Hoang Nguyen" or "Anthony Nguyen") was located by the FBI this month in Westminster, and now faces extortion charges stemming from a two-count, 2009 grand jury indictment.

The defendant will be transported by the U.S. Marshal from Orange County to Dallas for a potential trial.

According to the FBI, the victim (we'll call Jane Doe) admitted that in 2000 she had a year-long affair with Nguyen, then a coworker at a Dallas area electronics plant, and she became pregnant with a son during the period.

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Little Saigon Protestors Show Up in Riverside Like They Always Do And Always Will

April 30 12 Little Saigon 6 R Scott Moxley.jpg
Photo by R Scott Moxley
This happens often

Yesterday, hundreds of anti-communist protestors bussed from Little Saigon to Riverside to picket like they're wont to do. They converged on the Riverside City Hall for a day, and for a few hours in the mild weather rallied against a sister-city relationship between Riverside and Can Tho, the fourth largest city in Vietnam. Can Tho is a beautiful city in the Mekong Delta, located in the far south of Vietnam. It's known for its floating marketplace and giant bridge--much nicer to visit than Riverside. It's also my dad's hometown.

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Little Saigon Newspaper Accused Of Secret Communist Vietnam Control Wins Lawsuit

Though it's been nearly 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War, the most pejorative label anyone can hurl in Orange County's Little Saigon remains "communist," a term that, if wrongly used, can also result in economic pain.

The folks at Saigon Ngo weekly newspaper likely understand that point this week after a jury ordered them to pay $4.5 million in damages to Nguoi Viet Daily News officials they'd accused in a July 2012, column of working as secret agents for Vietnam's communist regime and living sexually promiscuous lifestyles.

After failing to win a retraction, Nguoi Viet's Dat Huy Pham and Vinh Hoang responded to the column by filing a Sept. 2012, lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court.

They noted in their complaint that the false accusations subjected them to "feelings of hatred, contempt [and] ridicule" as well potential violence in a place where just a picture of communist icon Ho Chi Minh can incite rage.

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New, Refreshing Day In Garden Grove: Bao Nguyen Captures Mayor's Office

Nguyen: Honest concern for residents outranked opponent's "communist" name game
A refreshing, new era in Garden Grove unofficially began tonight when the Orange County Registrar of Voters ended its Nov. 2014 vote counting and left young, upstart Bao Nguyen the victor over crusty, entrenched politician Bruce Broadwater in the race for mayor.

The result should mean Garden Grove--a city festering too often in grotesque backdoor dealings, questionable policy making, anti-immigrant sentiment and blatant nepotism thanks to Broadwater--is poised to enter an uplifting phase where residents don't take a back seat to national corporate interests luxuriously feeding financially off of nearby Disneyland.

While Broadwater seemingly couldn't resist any lunch or dinner with a wealthy developer or political hack, the Buddhist Nguyen--a UC Irvine graduate and son of parents who fled communist Vietnam and landed in Orange County's Little Saigon--has been known for years in Southern California's progressive communities for his mellow personality that defies an absolutely stern commitment to minorities, workers and everyday residents.

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[UPDATED:] CHP Arrests Little Saigon Councilman Andy Quach On Suspicion of DUI

Dzo! Councilman Quach during 2009 DUI arrest
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) today arrested Westminster City Councilman Andy Tuan Quach on suspicion of drunk driving charges and he remains locked inside jail tonight, according to Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) records.

The 42-year-old Quach, who has served multiple terms on the council and is a Vietnamese immigrant who fled his communist homeland by boat with his family in 1980, will appear in open court in Westminster on Nov. 13 to provide his plea to the charges.

The U.S. Navy veteran, who unsuccessfully attempted to become a SEAL, is being held in custody until he pays $10,000 bail.

Trouble with the law isn't new for the Chapman University graduate. In 2009, he pleaded guilty in a DUI case after clipping another vehicle, crashing his Mercedes into a wall and destroying electrical poles on McFadden Avenue in the wee hours of one morning. The incident, where his blood-alcohol content was triple the legal limit, resulted in more than 300 homes in Little Saigon, the location of people he has supposedly represented, losing power for half a day. As punishment, he received probation.

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Westminster Police Chief Kevin Baker Dropped From Federal Extortion Lawsuit

Chief Baker
The onetime Little Saigon bikini bar owner who accused several members of the Westminster Police Department of participating in an Orange County extortion racket today dropped several defendants from her federal lawsuit.

Hanh Le--the alleged victim--is no longer interested in pursuing her claims against the City of Westminster, its police department, police chief Kevin Baker and officer Timothy Vu.

The move leaves Le's civil case ongoing against defendants Kevin Khanh Tuan Do, the FBI-arrested businessman who pleaded guilty in June to a federal prosecutor; Anthony Duong Donner, the primary Westminster cop allegedly used by Do; and officer Phuong Pham.

Le's dismissal of the other defendants occurred by joint stipulation filed inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana.

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Letter Returned to Westminster Because Someone "Don't Speak Gook": UPDATE

mail thief mission viejo.jpg

UPDATE, 5:31 P.M.: The person whose address was listed as having rejected the letter contacted the Weekly and let us know that not only did they NOT write the "gook" note visible in the letter, but that they never even received the letter in the first place. As we wrote earlier, we openly wondered who actually wrote the note.

ORIGINAL POST, 10:33 A.M.: Holy racism, Bat Man! Fresh off the presses of our friends over at Angry Asian Man, someone returned a letter sent by an Asian-American-run insurance company in Westminster because they, quote, "Don't Speak Gook."

Seriously, what the fuck.

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DEA: Beverly Hills Businessman Was International Cocaine, Pot and Ecstasy Dealer

Nguyen's Linkedin page
Tom Nguyen attributes the success of his Beverly Hills-based Alenta Global Alliance (AGA) to "proven business acumen" that provides his customers "access to privileged business portfolios."

"At AGA, we identify high-growth segments of the economy where we can establish a competitive advantage and generate superior returns," Nguyen wrote in an Internet ad for his venture capital company.

But, according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, Nguyen masterminded a lucrative double life as a "high-ranking member of an international money laundering and drug trafficking organization" selling large quantities of Ecstasy pills, marijuana and cocaine in Mexico, Canada, California, Arizona and Florida.

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Police-Tied Little Saigon Loan Shark Hoping To Escape Prison At Sentencing Hearing

Will Little Saigon loan shark escape confinement?
The Little Saigon businessman who pleaded guilty earlier this year in a loan-sharking scheme that allegedly used a Westminster Police Department cop as the enforcer is hoping today that a federal judge on Monday punishes him with probation for two years instead of prison time.

Kevin Khanh Tuan Do, 39 and a 1991 immigrant from Vietnam, has apologized to U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, voiced his shame and promised to never commit another crime.

Based on the work of Assistant United States Attorney Brett Sagel and FBI special agents, a Southern California grand jury indicted Do and officer Anthony Duong Donner in August 2013 for charging bikini lounge operator Hanh Le an illegal, "usurious" 60 percent annual interest on a $170,000 loan and using threatening tactics to force payments.

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