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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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.
national games? A- I could not say because I don't know their fancy, but I think this fan tan game is their fancy for gambling. 67.Q. The whiteman's fancy often runs to poker? A.Yes. Q. The whiteman is permitted to play poker in his club? A. I think so. 69.Q. Why should not Chinamen be permitted to play fantan in their clubs? Is it not a fact that poker is played in the clubs of Vancouver, and that no restriction is made by the police? A. I don't know. 70.Q- You are not a member of any of the clubs? A. No. 71.Q. You know of poker being played In private residences? A. I do not. 72.Q It would not surprise you as a police officer to find fan-tan paraphernalia in a Chinese club? A. It would not. 73.Q. No more than it would surprise you to find a pack of cards there? A.No. 74.Q. Or dominos? A. No. 75.Q. Do you produce any money here? A. Yes. 76.Q . Where is it? (Ferris) It is not in evidence yet. 77.Q. When you entered the premises in question, you did not find anybody at first--you did not see any Chinamen? A. I did not myself. 78.Q. How long had you been there before you saw any? A minute or possibly five minutes or seven minutes. 79.Q He came from below with a number of other Chinamen, or did he come by himself? A. He came up himself as far as I seen 80.Q He was in there when you went there first? A. No 81.Q. Are you sure? A. After we got in there, then he came up. 82.Q. Do you know for what purpose? A. I don't know. 83.Q. He went away again? A. I don't think so. 84.Q. Don't you remember that he went downstairs and came up again? A. He might of. 85.Q. You know that? A. I can't recall it. BC Archives GR-0419 BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Box 106 File 1905/9 Attorney General documents.