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1904-10 Rex vs. Wong On and Wong Gow – murder (at the Chinese theatre)

As part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative, the BC Archives has digitized a selection of documents related to criminal prosecutions against the Chinese community from 1866 to 1914, found in GR-0419. These are mainly records created as part of the preliminary hearing held before a judge in order to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. There are often lengthy witness statements, and cross examinations by both prosecution and defense lawyers. The eventual verdict is sometimes recorded on the outside of the docket. They offer a fascinating glimpse into 19th and early 20th century criminal activity around the province, and ways in which the Chinese community was stereotyped. The records offered for transcription here are a small selection; for additional digitized material from GR-0419 click here. 

*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum. Some materials may contain content that is racist, sexist or otherwise offensive. In addition, GR-0419 records deal with subjects such as assault, murder and abuse, which may upset some readers. The Royal BC Museum is only the custodian of archival materials; the content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Royal BC Museum.
*All transcriptions are provided by volunteers, and the accuracy of the transcriptions is not guaranteed. Please be sure to verify the information by viewing the image record, or visiting the BC Archives in person. 

BC Archives G-0419

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Wing Fook;-

I knew the deceased Man Quann. I have seen and can fully identify his body, I last saw him alive on Sunday morning January 31st, 1904. About 11:45 Saturday night Jan. 30th, I was at the Chinese theatre and I went up to the second story to the room of Man Quann and waited for Man Quann. Quann came up about 12:45 and asked me to stay and have some lunch which I did and Quann borrowed five dollars from me and gave it to his friends to get some lunch. And afterwards as we were sitting around the table a man came in and asked Quann to go outside, Quann asked him what he wanted, he answered nothing. Quann said "If you have anything to say, say it here" and asked him what his name was. He answered Wong Hong. Wong Hong then asked Man Quann what his surname was. Quann then asked Hong Wong to stay for lunch, but there was no reply and Wong Hong went out, but came in in a few minutes and asked Man Quann to come out, and before Man Quann could answer Wong Hong stepped over a bench and caught man Quann by the que. Man Quann tried to defend himself but Wong Hang called out "Come in", and seven or eight men came in and three or four of them dragged Man Quann off his bed and two of them beat him with snow balls (?) I recognized one of these two as Wong On. Man Quann was dragged out of the room and as I could not get through the door for the crowd I did not see what happened outside, but I heard the expression used "beat him to death", and then I heard something fall on the stage. I also recognized in this crowd Wong Nam Yueh and Wong Sam. I then looked down from the balcony and saw a man lying on the stage. I went down and saw that it was Man Quann and then went for the police. As I went out I met the constables coming in. The men who had committed this assault had in the meantime disappeared. I recognize Wong On as being present, in Court. I also recognize Wong Gow and he was just outside Man Quann's door at the time Quann was dragged out.

BC Archives GR-0419 Box 100 File 1904/10 / BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Attorney General documents.

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