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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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.
JOHN McDADE under oath says: (Direct exam. by Farris) 200.Q. You seemed to be ahead, did you carry the sledge? A. Yes I was the first inside. 201.Q. Where did you first see any Chinamen? A. After I broke the second door through. I broke this door between two and three and I was going through this door and there were two Chinamen running out there to room 4, and I followed them down these -stairs and caught them and one of them had this handkerchief. 202.Q Do you know their names? A. Sing, he had the handkerchief with the money in it, and the other one is Chin Yung. Chin Yung was ahead of Sing and when they run downstairs they tried to close this trap door, but I got ahead and kept them from shutting it, and I caught them going out of the door and this man had the handkerchief trying to hide it, and he came round and threw the handkerchief under the counter and I reached over to get it, but he grabbed it and spilt the silver out and threw the handkerchief over to the other side, and Sergeant Butler picked it up and there was this $10. bill in it. 203.Q. Did you see any other Chinamen? A. There were some behind the counter. 204.Q. They were not brought up here? A- No. 205.Q. Did you see any of this money on the table upstairs? A. I did not stop. 206. Q. Do you know anything about this money that was got upstairs A. I do not. Cross-exam. By Russell: 207.Q. As you went into this room, you saw two Chinamen enter room 4? A. Going towards the back stairs. 298.Q. You did not see their faces? A. I simply saw their backs 209.Q. You could not identify these Chinamen, if you had only seen the back of them? A If I hadnot of got them below I could not. BC Archives GR-0419 BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Box 106 File 1905/9 Attorney General documents.