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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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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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SERGEANT BUTLER under oath says:- (Direct exam, by Farris) 154.Q. You were on this raid, Sergeant Butler? A. I was sir. 155.Q. You corroborate the statement of the last witness? A, lcan. 156.Q. Do you know what this paraphernalia (Ex. C.) is? A. Fantan paraphernalia. 157.Q You saw that in there? A. Yes. 156.Q. What is the nature of this fantan ? How are these things used? (presents copper covers) A. They are used for the odd and even count. They put some of these coins under this cover and then count them out with one of these sticks. In the old times they used to have a place marked on the mat and you would put your money on the corners, but now they have these pieces of lead and you just place your money on the corner. 157 Q How is this copper {Ex. C.) manipulated? A By the dealer. 160 Q. Where do you put your money? A. On the corners, I believe. 161.Q. Where do these sticks come in? A The dealer uses them to count the number under these things (under copper covers). 162.Q. If I had my money on the_ corner and was betting on the odd number and it came odd, I would win? A. Yes. 163.Q. Where does the dealer get offat? A. He gets all the rake-offs, all the money that was betting on the even. 164.Q. Are chances alike? A. No; for if some were betting on the odd and some on the even and the odd won, then the dealer would get all the money that was bet on the even. 165.Q. The dealer wins in either case? A' Yes. 166.Q The dealer will win pretty near all the time? A. If there is money bet on both the odd and the even he is sure to win, as near as I can tell. The game is pretty much the same as high-and-low games. 167.Q. Would you say that the chances are the same for the dealer as the other players? A No, I would say the dealer has the best show over the players. BC Archives GR-0419 Box 106 File 1905/9 BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Attorney General documents.

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