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Hong Quang Minh, having served his jail sentence in California, will not be resigtered as a sex offender in Vietnam.
A Vietnamese comedian who has recently been released from a prison in the U.S. will not face further legal action in Vietnam, local police confirmed.
Hong Quang Minh, already registered as a lifetime sex offender in the U.S., will not carry the same criminal record in Vietnam, police said.
Minh, who goes by stage name Minh Beo (Fat Minh), arrived in Vietnam on Wednesday after serving his time in California.
He was arrested on March 24 on charges of having oral sex with a 16-year-old boy and attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child under 14 years old. In August, Minh pleaded guilty to the sexual crimes and was sentenced to 18 months in state prison.
During a trial last week, the man failed to get a reduced sentence. California law states that when a person is sentenced to state prison for a crime, he or she will receive two days of credit for every one day served.
As Minh had been detained since late March, he completed his 18-month sentence at Theo Lacy jail early this week and was immediately deported.
Major General Tran The Quan, deputy head of the Legislation Department at the Ministry of Public Security, said Minh’s record in Vietnam will not include his jail term in the U.S., Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper reported.
There have been questions among the public and local media whether Vietnam will open an investigation against him.
But Quan made it clear that Minh committed the crime in the U.S. and has served his punishment in accordance with the U.S. laws, and there will be no follow-up in Vietnam. He added Vietnam and the U.S. have not signed any mutual legal assistance agreement.
Having sex with children under 16 in Vietnam is considered child rape which can be punished by between 18 years in jail and death. But Vietnam has no laws that punish oral copulation or an attempted sexual assault, lawyers said.
According to many lawyers, foreigners with criminal records overseas have little problem entering Vietnam.
Lawyer Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, former chief justice of Ho Chi Minh City Criminal Court, said she has seen foreign ex-cons who committed crimes in Vietnam but their previous offenses committed overseas were not counted in the trial process.
“Vietnam should adjust its laws with pedophiles and child sex offenders, like banning them from being near children,” lawyer Nguyen Anh Minh from HCMC told Nguoi Lao Dong.
The idea of Minh coming home and still hailed as a celebrity with no criminal record has also irked many local people, who have taken to social media to suggest tough action against Minh to protect Vietnamese children.