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Tang charged with tampering with witness after writing letter in jail to sway alleged victim

BY JORDYN REILAND | APRIL 16, 2012 6:30 AM

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Peng Tang, an Iowa City man accused of first-degree kidnapping, was charged April 13 with solicitation to commit an aggravated misdemeanor and tampering with a witness or juror.

According to an Iowa City police complaint, Tang, 21, 923 E. College St. Apt. 8, reportedly sent a letter from the Johnson County Jail, where he is being held on a $800,000 bond, to a friend asking that friend to locate the reported victim in the kidnapping case and persuade her to drop the charge.

On Sunday, Johnson County Jail officials confirmed Tang's bond was increased by $50,000 because of the tampering charge, bringing the total bond to $800,000. Tang is also being held at the jail on an immigration hold.

Tang reportedly asked his friend to tell the woman that if she does not cooperate, Tang will be in jail for the rest of his life, and if she does drop the charge, he can promise her anything.

According to the complaint, Tang also asked his friend to persuade the woman to tell police she lied and to ask her to tell the police that it was consensual.

Tang was charged March 30 with first-degree kidnapping while viewing the apartment of a local woman for a potential sublease. She was showing Tang her room when he locked the door and allegedly assaulted her, the complaint said.

Karla Miller, the executive director of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, said in most assault cases, a no-contact order is put in place after the alleged assault. A no-contact order forbids the person who committed the crime, or associated third parties, access to the alleged victim under any circumstances.

Jail officials said as of Sunday, a no-contact order had not been placed on Tang.

"Generally, [police officials] will [place a no-contact order] to make sure the defendant stays away from the victim," Miller said. "Even if that doesn't, there's still laws that they can pull into play."

Miller said a tampering charge is one such law.

According to online court documents, Tang's attorney Ray Reel filed a written arraignment on April 13 of not guilty to the charge of first-degree kidnapping prior to Tang's arraignment. Tang's hearing has not yet been set.

Iowa City police Sgt. Zach Diersen said officials are not able to assign an officer to stay with an reported victim, though they have taken other measures to protect possible victims.

"In the past, we have provided a hotel for someone to stay away from their residence in an effort to keep them safe," Diersen said. "In a specific incident, you just have to weigh what the threat is and then take whatever action is most appropriate."

Last week, Tang's father, Xuefan Tang, 57, and mother, Li Qiao, 49, were also charged with attempting to bribe the reported victim, according to police documents. They are both currently being held at the jail, each on a $100,000 bond.


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