Bill proposed to deny bail for flight risks after Vietnamese entertainer's arrest

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A senate constitutional amendment was proposed to provide an option of 'no bail' in response to the arrest of Minh Quang Hong.

A push is underway for a constitutional change in California to try to make it harder for accused felons to flee the country before facing trial.

State Senator Janet Nguyen announced she would introduce a senate constitutional amendment to provide an option of "no bail" in response to the case of Minh Quang Hong - a well known comedian and entertainer in Vietnam.

The 38-year-old, whose stage name is "Minh Beo," has been in custody in the Orange County Jail since March and is accused by officials of sexually assaulting a boy who showed up for an audition in Garden Grove.

Hong is expected to appear in court on Friday. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said he's concerned Hong would make the $1 million bail and potentially flee the country.

"He has a lot of ability to travel. He goes from state to state doing shows," said Rackauckas. "He's indicated a preference to live and be in Vietnam."

Vietnam does not have an extradition agreement with the U.S.

"If a defendant avoids prosecution by using their contacts with a foreign government, their victims will never get the day in court," said Nguyen.

Speaking at a news conference in Westminster's Little Saigon, Nguyen said her proposed amendment would allow a judge to deny an accused felon bail if they're a potential flight risk.

Some, however, question whether it could violate someone's civil rights. But the district attorney said due process was written into the proposed constitutional amendment.

"It requires that the prosecutor produce evidence to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the person is a flight risk and might leave the jurisdiction," Rackauckas said.

Rackauckas admitted the proposed legislation would not affect Hong's case.

The proposed amendment would still have to pass both houses of the legislature with a 2/3 vote. It would also need to go before voters in 2018.

If convicted, officials said Hong could face up to five years and eight months in prison and would have to register as a sex offender.
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