1905/9 Rex vs. Soon Ching – keeping a gaming house (Vancouver)
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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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.
47.Q. You never seen their notice of incorporation? A. No, I asked for that night for the papers and he said Sewey had them. 48.Q After looking at this document have you any doubt that the club is incorporated? (Presents certificate of incorporation)? Court: This witness cannot prove it. (Russell) I would like to put this in evidence. (Court) That must be proven first. (Russell) I will put in the Gazette instead. 49, Q. Did you bring up everything you found? A No.
50.Q. Did you see any Chinese literature? I did not. 51.Q. Did you see any books? I did not see any. We brought part of the stuff we seen in the room. 52.Q Have you had any experience with this club? A. I have not. 53. Q. What would you expect to find in a Chinese club? A. I don't knew. 54.Q What would you expect to find in a whiteman's club? 1. I would expect to see them sitting in a game. 55.Q. You would expect to find playing cards there? A. Yes. 56.Q. Chips? A.Yes. 67 Q. Dice? A. Probably. 58.S. Drink? A Yes. 59.Q. Cigar? A. Yes. 60.Q. Dominos? A. Yes. 61.Q. Chess? A.Yes. 62,Q. Checkers? A. Yes. 63.Q. The whiteman had not been educated to fan tan? A. I don't know that. 64.Q. You would not expect to find it in a whiteman's club, but you would expect to find it in a Chinese club? A. We call it gambling. 65.Q. I am talking about the paraphernalia—you would expect to find it in a Chinese Club—among the different Chinese games? A. I could not say that. 66.Q. You would as a matter of fact, that being one of their BC Archives GR-0419 Box 106 File 1905/9 BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Attorney General documents.