A fight involving as many as 40 people broke out at the Hmong Freedom Celebration in St. Paul on Saturday night, leaving a 20-year-old man with a stab wound in the upper back, charges say. The weapon? An umbrella, authorities said Monday, or more specifically, the tip of an umbrella that had been shaved to a point. Ramsey County prosecutors presented the stabbing details in a complaint charging Tou Yang, 18, with two counts of second-degree riot in connection with the fracas, which erupted about 6:15 p.m. at Como Park's McMurray Field. According to the charges, Yang was not the umbrella-toting assailant. Rather, he was caught with three six- to eight-inch sticks that he allegedly wielded during the fight. The charges say he admitted sharpening the sticks and using them to defend himself, but he denied stabbing anyone with them, authorities say. To be charged with second-degree riot, one must be involved in an incident with three or more people and either be armed with a dangerous weapon or know that one of the others is armed, state statute states. Police spokesman Howie Padilla said Monday that police did not yet know what triggered the fight. The brawl occurred during an annual festival that this year attracted an estimated 50,000 people from all over the world. Also in attendance were officers who were watching for gang members looking to make trouble with their enemies, authorities say. Suspected gang member Meng Vang, 18, was arrested at about 2 p.m. on Saturday after an officer spotted him carrying a knife with a 10-inch blade, according to a complaint filed Monday by the city attorney's office. The charges quote Vang as saying that he had the knife because the Asian Crip gang was at war with the Oroville Mono Boys street gang. He needed the knife, he said, in case the Asian Crips were to fight not only with that group, but also with the Purple Brothers street gang. He was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon in a park zone, a gross misdemeanor.
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