Two journalists at Nguoi Viet Daily News, the country's oldest and most respected Vietnamese newspaper, are suing a rival Little Saigon newspaper for publishing inflammatory accusations involving secret, foreign communist influence and sex.
Dat Huy Phan and Vinh Hoang claim that Hoang Duoc Thao (AKA Dao Nuong) and Saigon Nho weekly newspaper falsely accused them in a July 28, 2012, article of being communist agents running the newspaper at the direction of Vietnam's government in Hanoi.
The Saigon Nho report also accused Hoang of being "an unchaste woman" who is "unqualified for her profession" and "known to have many scandalous affairs," according to the Sept. 4 lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court.
The lawyer representing Phan and Hoang wrote in the suit that the allegations were intended "to evoke feelings of hatred, contempt, ridicule" and to cause "the victims to be shunned, avoided and injured in his and her profession, as well as to subject them to threats of great bodily harm" in Little Saigon, where anti-communist sentiments remain potent.
duo also claim that their attempt to win a public retraction for the allegations was ignored.
Thao and Saigon Nho, the Garden Grove weekly founded in 1985, have not yet filed a formal response to the lawsuit.
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The case has been assigned to Superior Court Judge Frederick P. Horn in Orange County's central courthouse in Santa Ana.
Orange County's Little Saigon region is home to the world's largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam.
Though the Vietnam War ended 37 years ago, images of Ho Chi Minh, the communist leader, still inflame passions among mostly elderly residents who were forced to immigrate to the U.S. after the fall of South Vietnam.