Ly Tong, the man who spent the last 14 months or so on the fringe of Vietnamese-American society, thrusted himself back in the limelight by dressing up as a woman and pepper-spraying a singer from Vietnam at a concert in Santa Clara.
It’s not the first time Ly Tong made news with a spray can and women’s wear. Last year, he spray painted an artwork and glued lingerie panties to it.
Nguoi Viet Daily News has a detailed story here (in Vietnamese), including accounts from an eyewitness.
According to the witness, she was sitting 3 seats away from Ly Tong at the concert featuring Dam Vinh Hung, a singer who frequently goes by the name Mr Dam.
Ly Tong came in drags, accompanied by a woman. The witness told Nguoi Viet:
“He was wearing a dress but his legs were all spread out. I and my friend were telling each other, ‘That guy’s so gross, dressing as a woman.’ At first we thought maybe Dam Vinh Hung is gay and this gay guy has a crush on him.”
Halfway through the show, Ly Tong came up and assaulted the singer. A press release from the Santa Clara Police Department says:
Ly accomplished the assault by posing as a woman. He purchased a ticket at the door to gain entry to the event and approached the stage acting as if he was going to give Hung Dam a flower. When the performer approached to take the gift, Ly sprayed him with the chemical irritant.
Ly was taken into custody immediately after the assault by Santa Clara police officers who were present at the event. Ly’s motive for the assault is thought to be political in nature.
The spray affected not just Mr Dam but also another singer on stage with him, Mỹ Tâm, and members of the audience.
The police’s press release says, “the audience of several hundred people had to be evacuated temporarily. The show resumed after the venue was ventilated and Santa Clara Fire Department personnel administered first aid.”
The audience member who spoke to Nguoi Viet also said the chemical was spreading throughout the room. “When he sprayed it, everybody knew it’s just pepper spray. At first, the people in the front row, the VIP row, were coughing. Then it spread and me, in the cheapest seats, next to the last row, also coughed.”
As news of Ly Tong’s actions spread throughout the web, on Facebook and on the listservs, right-wingers rejoiced.
Many applauded Ly Tong and professed their admiration of him. Which goes, of course, to prove that Vietnamese love children.
One man who’s probably not amused is Congressman Joseph “Anh” Cao. He appeared at the protest outside the concert, but now he’s totally upstaged.
Meanwhile, Mr Dam showed up in Orange County and spoke with members of the local Viet press. He’s scheduled to be part of a concert at Anaheim Arena on July 24, and Mr Dam said he’d be there despite threats of protest.
Said he, “The older people are determined to destroy my show this time, destroy it once to be a lesson to other singers. On the side of the promoters and organizers, including myself, we are equally determined to be there to serve our public.”
The promoter, however, isn’t so sure. Dung Taylor told Nguoi Viet’s reporter that next time he may not ask Dam Vinh Hung to appear.