1895/39 Regina vs. Lee Heng Yum – gaming, Victoria (good description of Fan Tan Alley)
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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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.
then the accused handed out one handful of China cash and then drew them in one at a time; one man does the work and one man does the handling; by the man who does the work I mean the man who pays the bets of those who win and takes in the money of those who lose; there were only two men working at the table; there were three or four money bags but only one was open; there were about 10 people around the table very soon after the game opened; of the people around the table, some of them were looking on, some were betting; they were betting against Lee Heng Yum (the accused); I bet myself; I asked 'Who is boss?' and accused said 'I am boss;' that was before I agreed to bet with him; I bet 75 cents; I bet only once; I bet on the corner of 3 and 2 and I lost; the man who did the work took my money in; his name is Lee Hip Foon; I saw several men bet; the highest bet I saw that day was 2 or 3 dollars; whether they were lost or won I don't know; after I lost my bet I left; I was there about a quarter of an hour; I saw several more bets made besides the two I have mentioned.
My name is Wong Hok Nye, not Wong Hip Lie; I last worked at a cannery last of last September, at English Cannery, New Westminster; I have done no work since I came to town; I do not know Mr. Jackson; I have not worked in a fan tan house for Jackson or for McDonald; I am not engaged by Jackson or McDonald to do fighting; I sleep upstairs over the barber shop; a room in the same house below has been used as a tan house; was last so used two or three weeks ago; I have been in that tan room sometimes; I never worked for the owners of that house; I did not get $2.50