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Baldwin Park Man Is Ordered Extradited

Times Staff Writer

A Baldwin Park man accused of plotting to blow up the Vietnamese Embassy in Bangkok in 2001 has been ordered extradited to Thailand to face terrorism-related charges.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Nakazato mulled his decision for 16 months before approving Thailand’s request to extradite Van Duc Vo, 44, a member of a group dedicated to overthrowing the Vietnamese government. Vo faces charges of trying to cause an explosion and making, possessing and using explosive devices.

Vo’s attorney, W. Michael Mayock, said the decision was tantamount to a death sentence and said he would appeal. Vo said he was concerned that the Thai government may simply hand him over to Vietnam.

“It’s very sad news,” Vo said by telephone Wednesday from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, where he has been held without bail for more than two years.

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Prosecutors alleged that on June 19, 2001, Vo and another man placed a backpack with explosives outside the Vietnamese Embassy in Bangkok and tossed a brown box over the fence.

The box contained 11 pounds of diesel fuel and ammonium nitrate, the same type of mixture used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings, officials said. Prosecutors said the detonator malfunctioned and the homemade bombs failed to explode.

Vo, who is a U.S. citizen, said he planted the bombs to send a message to Vietnam’s communist regime, but defused the boxes when he realized the U.S. Embassy was nearby. He was arrested Oct. 12, 2001, after he got off a plane at John Wayne Airport.

Since his arrest, Vietnam’s leaders have urged U.S. authorities to hand over Vo. The U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Vietnam.

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Vo is a longtime member of a Garden Grove-based group that bills itself as the exiled Free Government of Vietnam.


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