There's a decent chance Alex Phu won't ask a girl in public if she wants his dick. It's not that Phu is a gentleman. Nope, the last time he asked that question, he didn't like the answer, and then things got cowardly.
Alone, a coward keeps his mouth shut. But when part of a group he’ll exhibit misplaced bravery. This was true for Phu. On the weekdays, he appeared well-educated, soft-spoken and courteous as an Orange County escrow officer. At night with fellow members of his Vietnamese criminal gang, Viet Boys, Phu ghettoized. With all the conviction his skinny 135-pound frame could muster, he talked, walked and dressed like a street-rugged hoodlum.
Back in reality—in Little Saigon on Feb. 16, 2006, to be precise—a two-SUV caravan carried the then-22-year-old to a fast-food-restaurant parking lot. Phu saw a 20-year-old Vietnamese-American woman he'd partied with years earlier during high school.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked, before insulting her and saying, “You just want my dick.”
Phu—who'd adopted the gang moniker “Tiny Boxer”—must have felt extra-manly, barking such words to a chick in front of his pals. He smiled and strutted. His buddies beamed.
But none of them expected the woman’s retort: She told him she wasn't interested in his “small penis.” The smile evaporated from Phu's face. “You'd better shut up,” he said, cursing at the woman and hearing her fire back in kind.
A crowd of teenagers gathered. He'd been humiliated. In front of his home boys. About his dick.
Phu approached the woman and said, “I'm not going to hit you.” She relaxed slightly and Phu quickly cocked his arm and slammed his fist into her face. A witness heard the crushing impact that dropped the woman to the asphalt.
When she managed to get up, blood pouring from her nose, she called Phu an “S.O.B.” and a “woman-beater.” Another member of Viet Boys yanked her legs from under her and punched her viciously six or seven more times in the face as she lay on the ground. Then Phu pretended her head was a football and he was a kicker. His shoe slammed into her skull near her ear.
The Viet Boys, who favor Dallas Cowboy jerseys with the number 22 because “V” is the 22nd letter of the alphabet, may have continued to demonstrate their manhood indefinitely if it hadn't been for two (never identified) young Latinos who saw the fight from inside the restaurant and came to the victim's rescue. The gangsters cursed the men, jumped in their vehicles and proudly shouted, “V Boys!” as they fled. Police eventually captured Phu, who denied active gang affiliation and offered this lame excuse: The woman started the fight.
After the Orange County District Attorney's office prosecuted the case, a jury didn’t buy the defense strategy. Neither did a court of appeal in Santa Ana. It recently rejected his hopes of overturning the conviction.
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For 15 minutes of testosterone-loaded stupidity, Phu won 365 days in jail and three years' worth of formal probation.
(Wednesdays at OCWeekly.com discover the depths of human depravity in Orange County, California.)
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-- R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly