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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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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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A. Three or four, but I very seldom go up. I have to look after the store. 307.Q. Might not five or six play fantan up there? A. It is hard to keep track, they have different kinds of games. 308.Q. Are there any rules or laws of the club against more than two playing fantan? A. Four. 309.Q. Are the rules of the club fix«d so that only four can play? A. About four. 310.Q Are there any rules that only four can play? A There are no more, but we have no rules to that effect, 311.Q. Do they play fantan there in the usual way? A. Yes, the same, only not for the purpose of making money. 312.Q. Cannot a man make money in a game up there? A. He wins some money to buy drinks, 313 Q. Are the rules that govern fantan in that club the same rules as the game is usually played? A. The only difference is that one is for recreation and the other for making money. 314.Q Where do you keep your newspapers in the club? A- We have newspapers up there sometimes. 315.Q Was it not a fact that there were none there when the police came?

A. There was nobody there.

316.Q- Do they bring papers there with them? A. We have papers there, but some of them carry them away. 317.Q. The playing of these games, like fantan and black-jack, is not that the chief form of recreation of the club? .A. Just for the fun of the thing. 315 Q. Did not you get that club incorporated with the object that they could gamble up there? A. No, for the fun. 319.4. Was not the object of that so that you could gamble for recreation? Q. Yes; a place where they could go and have their amusement without going to other places where they were liable to be raided by the police. Examination by Court: 320.Q. How do the members get in there when they go of an BC Archives GR-0419 BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Box 106 File 1905/9 Attorney General documents.

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