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Alleged Vietnamese child sex offender says he’s healthy in US jail

Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 15:07 GMT+7

Minh Beo, the Vietnamese entertainer being held in the U.S. on child sex abuse charges, is in stable health in an Orange County jail, he said on Tuesday, in the first-ever statement since his arrest last week.

The comedian, whose real name is Hong Quang Minh, is being detained at the Theo Lacy Facility in California, pending a court appearance on April 15, after being charged on Friday last week with sexually assaulting a minor during his U.S. tour.

The Consulate General of Vietnam in San Francisco sent two of its officials to meet the 38-year-old entertaineron Tuesday morning (U.S. time), when Minh Beo said he is fine.

Minh Beo said “the conditions in the prison are good; food is appropriately served and there are doctors to examine his health,” one of the two consular representatives told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday.

The actor also said he was not beaten by anyone in jail. He is allowed to write letters or make phone calls as well.

“He is in good health conditions, although we can notice that he is extremely worried,” the representative told Tuoi Tre. “His family in Vietnam has learned of the incident and is trying to contact a lawyer.”

Prior to the jail visit, Consulate General of Vietnam in San Francisco representatives also met with a group of sex abuse attorneys in Orange County to arrange a lawyer for Minh Beo.

The attorneys are trying to find a lawyer who will defend the Vietnamese artist free of charge, according to the Consulate General source.

However, if Minh Beo and his family want to have their own lawyer, they have to cover all expenses.

As of Wednesday morning, no lawyer has been assigned to defend Minh Beo.

The Consulate General source added that no further details have been released by the U.S. attorneys and authorities, in order to protect the rights and interests of the Vietnamese accused.

The court appearance on April 15, in the meantime, is only a hearing, instead of a first-instance trial, the official noted. There may be more such hearings to collect information before the official trial, whose date remains to be confirmed.

The Consulate General of Vietnam in San Francisco has pledged to carefully keep track of the case to take timely and proper action to protect the Vietnamese citizen.

“We have provided Minh Beo with such information as the Consulate General address and phone number and recommended that he contact us as soon as possible whenever needed,” the official told Tuoi Tre.

He was charged with three felony counts, including oral copulation of a minor, attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child under the age of 14, and meeting with a minor with the intent to engage in lewd conduct, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Back in Vietnam, Minh Beo is a comedian, TV film actor, play scriptwriter and director, and host of a charitable TV show. He also runs a theater and a film company.

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