Little Saigon Shopkeeper Who Sparked Massive Demonstrations to be Jailed


Orange County District Attorney
Press Release

Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
July 19th, 2001

Contact: DDA Dan Wagner (714) 347-8608

SANTA ANA — Truong Van Tran, 39, the Westminster video store owner who touched off massive anti-Communist demonstrations in 1999, will be taken into custody Friday morning to begin serving a 90-day jail term.

Tran is scheduled to surrender to Superior Court Judge Ron Kreber at 9 a.m. in the Central Justice Center. He was convicted of video piracy in August 1999 and sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of felony probation.  However, the judge allowed Tran to remain free on bail pending his appeal of the conviction. 

In January, Tran’s conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeal and in May, the California Supreme Court refused to grant Tran’s petition to rehear the matter.  Having exhausted his appellate rights, Tran must now serve his jail sentence.

Tran attracted the attention of police two years ago when he was escorted into his store because an angry mob had gathered outside to protest a poster of Ho Chi Minh that hung inside. Officers noticed what appeared to be numerous bootleg videotapes on the shelves of his store. Upon serving a warrant, they found 147 videocassette recorders inside the store, which Tran was using as part of his piracy operation. More than 17,000 videos had been fraudulently reproduced.