It took place just hours after federal prosecutors dropped all remaining charges against 12 defendants accused of plotting to overthrow the Laotian government in 2007.
General Vang Pao himself at one point was part of the group accused of conspiring to overtake the Laotian government. But federal prosecutors filed a motion to drop the charges the news comes as the Hmong community continues to mourn its fallen leader.
Dozens of people packed the Orchid Hall in southeast Fresno Monday night, to remember the life of General Vang Pao. Some paid their respects outside the building with a candlelight vigil.
Rosely Vue said, "That's the reason why we have the opportunity here to come to America. To make a difference. And I'm thankful that he made history happen for the Hmong people."
Seng Vue of Fresno also paid his respects to the general. Federal agents arrested Seng and eleven others back in 2007 for allegedly plotting to fund a violent overthrow of the communist government in Laos. All of them denied any involvement and prosecutors sat on the case for years.
Now in his 70's and in a wheelchair -- Seng became emotional when he spoke exclusively to Action News with his son translating.
"He said Americans used him for many reasons and at the end he end up in jail so."
Seng served under General Vang Pao back in the late 1960's and early 70's and followed the Hmong leader to America. He says the case being dropped is of little consolation. Seng spent time in prison and claims he got assaulted on many occasions.
He says in Hmong -- Americans have been using me for such a long time and at the end they put me in jail. Why didn't Americans put me in jail a long time ago? Instead of just recently. Despite the resentment -- other Hmong are happy the men have been cleared.
Nelson Vang said, "This is a truly good for our people and we appreciate it. We are very happy for the 12 men."
General Vang Pao was dropped from the case in 2009. Prosecutors offered little explanation as to why they dropped the charges against the rest of the men other than to say it was quote "No longer warranted."NEWS BY LOCATION | ABC30 BLOGS | DISCUSSION FORUMS
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