Ly Tong, 65, a self-proclaimed anti-communist “freedom fighter” best known for a 2008 hunger strike aimed at persuading San Jose officials to name a retail district “Little Saigon” resurfaced at a concert armed with pepper spray while being disguised as an old woman (someone get this man to a retirement home).
In one of the stranger things seen, Tong approached the stage during a performance by singer Dam Vinh Hung, the singer with the most successful concerts/bookings in Vietnam, in Santa Clara disguised as an old woman in a hat carrying a long stem rose. As Hung bent down to receive the rose he was pepper sprayed. The crowd who was cheering the flower gesture gasped when Tong’s real intent was revealed.
Here is a video of the whole strange scene. All the action takes place towards the end of the clip while performing with My Tam:
The details get even stranger as there had been extra security for the show because many Vietnamese emigres view Hung as a symbol of Vietnam’s communist reign.
Notables in protest outside the show included a Vietnamese congressman all the way from Louisiana.
So how did the infamous Tong manage to beat the security web? According to local police his scheme involved a brilliant idea in addition to his disguise, purchasing a ticket.
Tong is no stranger to spectacle it turns out. In 1992, the former South Vietnamese fighter pilot hijacked a passenger plane and dropped 50,000 leaflets on Saigon! He was sentenced to 20 years in prison but was granted amnesty in 1998. Following up on that “mission” he was detained by South Korea before a planned attempt to drop another 20,000 leaflets over Seoul during a visit from the president of China in 2008.
Tong is back in prison while his lawyer is seeking a reduction in his bail amount currently set at $52,000. No one was seriously injured in the incident and as a seasoned performer would, Dam Vinh Hung returned to the stage to finish the show.
Hat Tip to Snoie 🙂