Transcription Page

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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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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Court: I do not think it would be any harm for the Interpreter to ask the witness what form of oath is the most binding on him, and then if you want a double oath it might be administered if he chooses another form - I do not think there could be any harm in that. Wing just ask him what form of oath is most binding.

Mr. Powell: Tell him the different forms and find out which is the most binding

Interpreter (Yip Wing): He say that swearing by the Chicken oath is the most binding.

Mr. Powell: Didn't he say either?

Interpreter: First he say either and then he say the Chicken oath - that most binding.

Court: Have you read that form of oath on that Yellow paper

Interpreter: No, not read it all.

Court: I think it would be better if you would translate it as you go along. I might as well inform the Counsel that the Interpreter objects to administering this form of oath. You will have to have another interpreter to administer the oath. He objects to administering it.

Mr. Taylor: May I ask your Honor why?

Interpreter: This is not a form of oath that is used in the Courts in China, and never been used in the Courts in the United States, except in these Courts here.

Mr. Powell: I would suggest your Honor that the Interpreter we have aiding the prosecution, David Lee be asked to swear the witnesses and administer this oath. He is the Court Interpreter from Vancouver, and he has high testimonials from there, and I have

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

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