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1912/24 Rex vs. Ah Tom – keeping a disorderly house

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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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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There were several Chinamen sitting and lying round the bench in the room; there was also a whiteman there and he was asleep.

I asked Defendant if he was smoking opium and he said he was. I showed him my order, searched the house and found the article produced. I arrested the whiteman as he could not give a good account of himself. I summoned the defendant next day for keeping an opium joint.

The order produced (marked Exhibit C) is the one I obtained from Mayor J. T. Robinson to search the house of Ah Tom.

I have on several occasions seen whitemen going into this house and leaving it. (Defendant’s solicitor objected to this statement)


Q Can you give any dates when you have seen white men come out of there. A No, not specific dates.

Q It is in that that man resided is it? A In far as I know, he admitted to me that it was his residence when I arrested him.


Q Where does his famile live. A I don’t know whether they live there or not, they were not there that night.

BC Archives GR-0419 Box 155 File 1912/24 / BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Attorney General documents.

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