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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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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. 

BC Archives G-0419

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into his room and I asked him if he run this place and he said he was manager of it for some Chinese company. (He gave me the name, but I forget it.) 103.Q Did you have any further conversation with the accused that evening? A. I did. 104.Q. What was the nature of that? A. I had considerable conversation with him in the room in reference to these books, and in regard to any games that were played up there. I then brought the accused to the police station and on the way up I asked him how long the club had been running and he said three weeks. We then walked along until we came to the corner of Columbia Avenue and Cordova street, when he volunteered a statement. 105.Q. Any threats made? A-No. 106.Q Or inducements? A. No. The conversation was on the same lines as we had in his room and he was quite willing in giving information as to what those books were and in connexion with the bar. 107.Q. Whet was the statement that he volunteered? A. That there were 41 members of the club and that each one had ten shares in it and that they played fantan in this room and that 25 c was the limit. 108.Q. Is there anything more you want to say? A.No. Cross-examination by Russell.

109 Q Did he mention Kwong Tai Lung? A. Possibly that is the name but I did not write it down. He said he was managing the place for them. 110 Q He said he was manager for Kwong Tai lung? A. If that is the name. 111 Q It was similar to that? A.Yes; some Chinese company. 112 He admitted he was a member of the club? A. Yes. 113 Q He spoke of this all the way through as a club house? A He said the certificate was in your office. 114 Q He admitted also that the members played fantan in these rooms and that there was a limit of 25c  ? A. Yes; he BC Archives GR-0419 Box 106 File 1905/9 BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Attorney General documents.

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