Chinese Gang War growing in San Francisco

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Chinese Gang War growing in San Francisco - Gang War , ' O .. RICHARD E. MYER AP...
Gang War , ' O .. RICHARD E. MYER AP Newsfeatures Writer I FRANCISCO (AP") -i It .^be, risky. But Tom Tom af chanc£ it. Chinatown had n.home tfnce, and he hadn't ··back-in _a while. To Chinatown,'.' he said and ^'ov^his glass. ,His boys J same: One, with a bulge r'his poat, pushed away armaid, bringing another '" " r 'want me to die?" iic-g'aajkpu^wjr,' and he didn't meaji cA'i hangover 'Tjpi'Tom donned his brown leather jacket. $j| bodygua'rd, the one with theflbulging coat, went first ,-- out;, of the * Macao in North Beach, a territory where they weren't' exactly welcome, across Broadway v and into Chinatown, the most dangerous territory of all. Tom Tom and his boys were the Suey Sing. And Chinatown these days was a free fire zone in a war be- tween the Wah' Ching and the ·Chung Ching Yee. Police call it the Chinese Gan^ War. They say the war- riors', mostly teen-agers and al- most all under 25, have been in- volved in 13 killings over the pajs.J._:four years .-In New'. York, which has similar gangs, police count six such killings. Los An- geles; police count one. There has. been at least one shooting of them," mutters tlie Rev. Tso Tin Taam;'twice president of the Chinese^ Six Companies,,, unofficial mayor of; Chinatown and the pinnacle of Chinatown's feudal p y r a m i d . . ' " , . ' "And they haye succeeded in frightening much of the popu- lace v "The average family tells its kids, 'Don't go down to Chinatown at night/" says Ed- die Chin,,a law student in. his 20s, sipping soup in a 'Chinese: restaurnat -- in the daytime. "And the businessmen are real- ly up tight" For all this, there are signs the young Chinese, at least in San Francisco, are having mis- givings. Kit Fong, however un- successfully, says he negotiated for four straight days recently in an honest attempt to make peace with the leaders of the Wah Ching. "These guys aren't Boy Scouts," says George Woo, a professor at California State University who knows the young Chinese well. "But they'd like to try to b6 Boy Scouts if somebody would give them a chance." How is it, then, that these sons : of P'an Ku, ruler of the world, are at each other's throats? Why are these heirs to Confucius, lover of peace, beat- ing and killing and extorting? It ail began in the 1960s, the » ' ·' ' i . ' ' " f · j,- ' . _ - Number Of Young Tangled In Deadly almost all of the classes at Ga- lileo High School were taught in English. Had he gone,, there was doubt" he would have learned much. "Ninety per cent of the- stuff goes over their heads when it's taught in EngT lish," · concedes Wellington Chew, city director of bilingual education. Without an education, Lak Man Tarn had trouble finding work. - Through the Chinatown-North Beach Youth Service and Coordinating Center, a govern- ment-financed youth program, he got jobs as a dishwasher and a waiter. Aside from that and teaching him a little Eng- lish, however, the Youth Serv- ice didn't help much. "When mothers and fathers both work, family structure breaks down, and the agencies are left to mend the broken bridges;" says Mason Wong, : executive direc- tor. "And we just can't." Lak Man Tarn's friends were immigrants, too, and they were different in small but important ways from their American-born contemporaries. Foreign, born called the American-born ABCs -- "American Born Chinese." The ABCs called r the foreign- with cherry bombs', their cars to set afire, a principal to stab and his office windows to break. There were, livings to earn; houses to rob and bust* nesses to extort, sometimes by simply eating a big meal in a restaurant and walking Out, or by ignoring ticket takers at the movies. Or by offering to hire on as look-see boys for illegal gamblers; The Wah Ching gave Tom Tom the forum he needed to express himself: To stand short and lean in his dark denims and brown leather jacket, flash his big.;grin and assert his lead- ership.: "In 1967-68," he remem- bers, "we-thinking about these things: Rich guys that own res- taurants, and they hiring bus- boys, and they paying "us 65 cents per hour and 50 cents per hour. "We called a meeting in '68 at the CACA (Chinese Ameri- can Citizens Alliance), arid we said, 'We want fair money, like everybody else.'" The meeting was one of three which marked a turning point. It was a Human Rights Com- mission meeting, and it includ- ed some of the lords of the Chinatown hierarchy, including. Judge Harry Low and represen- tatives of the Six'Companies. While not a. group of com- mercial firms, the.Companies · represents Chinatown's ac- cumulated wealth. On its board sit the mandarins'of seven as- sociations (one too small to have a vote),'each representing residents from a different dis- trict of the Canton delta. Or- ganized beneath it, in pyramid fashion, are the rest of China- town's 43 district associations, Its numerous tongs, and its family associations; each head- ,ed b- the mandarins who the buildings'in Chinatown and run the businesses inside them, make Chinatown the richest, over-organized ghetto in the United States. Into the meeting marched Wah Ching, en masse. "The crime rate in China- town is increasing and we are partly responsible," chanted Anton Wong, 19, barely 5 feet Sci-(;AN;S, iVr KM: 1 GANG WARFARE'S TOtL-^-Stanley Ng, members of a rival gang Police refer to a once a member'bf the You Lee, a San Francisco Chinese Gang War m San Francis'co now They .Chinese youth .gang, holds a revered portra'it of - say the warriors, mostly teenagers and almost Raymond'Leung^a former leader of the'Ypu all under 25; have been involved in 13 killings I^'ef-Leung was; shot and killed in San Fran- over the past four years. Cisco's Chinatpwn in 197J," presumably !by : i . .. ', . £rnpng young/_eiiinese in Bos 7 Kennedy years, wherilhe.presi- i»rn FOBs v -T- "Freaks Off the ton/.And.police,say; young Chi- dent accepted-'lG.OOO refugees Boat;" - . · · ' ' - ' · · .^-s^^u^; nese have tried ' " . . . . . . Seattle c e s s _ _ _ ( ^ 7 _ ·^Defying the '-feudal:'.' hier- ]ike;rother;na'tiSis^,can.siBnd^sT dark-:derby jackets and: .-S.iiiig^ ;afchies their patriarchs created many asi 20-OOO.pe'rsons into the lasses.^ The FOBs wore: sport Jo keep the peace in Chinatown,.-United States eacfi year. % _ / . shirts; sport jackets that djdn?t; $hese young ;Chinesje are. rob^^ hopeful who. arrived on Gurri : flat shoes, usually": sneakers.' Son, or .Golden Mountain, as The ABCs could speak English. they described the United States r . included an 18-yea'r-old boy with a dark thatch and large brown eyes, named Lak Man Tarn. He came with his family, sev- Singandtprturing--:strikingout e'h persons in all.. His father'boat. Jh China, his father'was tat each other in'ghetto friistra- had been a well-known lawyer: an architect, his mother a.iady \tiori, struggling fpr.^"survival,,in Canton; The family, joined '-..of-leisure: But there was 'nb^ ;and, in some cases, consider- : :thousands'.. pouring, inio .what call in Chinatown for an archi- =able money and power. :was already one of America's, tect"without American crecien- i. Running in 20s and 30s, and ".West : Ghettos, -- eight-score tials, so; his mother went to : -groups of 100 when their ven-'"-^ 0 * 1 ^ 50 ^^^*! Chinatown, bound- work : in -a ; sewing shop and. ^geances peak, they mix long- £ d ! by -Nob : HilL 5'the financial washed dishes ·bing--.'beating" and;.: extorting; jSome scorn their elders as "bar iianas," yellow on the'outside ·jjut white on the inside, "Uncle ?T6ng" sellouts to the Cauca- [sians they accuse of repressing [them into gilded ghettos.'Many »are sniping, kidnaping, stabb- 'China bugs,"- they sneered. And the FOBs would fight. .Like Lak Man.Tarn, Kit Fong. was an immigrant: He remem- bers with precision his arrival: : 10 a.m., Jan: 27, 1962, on the ;held grudges worthy of the Hat- V dis t«ct arid-North ; 'Beach strip 1 ' ' ' *fields and McCoys with a turf ^consciousness reminiscent... .b£ jthe Puerto Ricans; and they ·cover it all with'mpu gong, a. ^Chinese omerta that would jrnake the Godfather proud, r', \ "\Vhat the kids are doing is . 'pretty close to what the tongV^'xty' per cent shared bath- =did in the 19th century," says a- rooms with other families, 1 San Francisco policeman. The- na d none. ^comparison is apt. Gangs, like tongs, provide stability, secur- 912 persons .per/acre -- 11 v ity and brotherhood for young times' that of the rest of San * ~ " immigrants Kit Fong couldn't speak Eng- lish either. He avoided school for several months^ Then he tried classes with Chinese translators. But he found thern- unsatisfaclory. He worked as a newspaper boy,.in-the kitchen at United Air Lines and as a delivery boy for a bean sprout company. But none of these jobs was particularly challeng- PopuJation-density soared to ing. joints. Housing,, never plentiful; was ·impossible to find. And more than half of what was available was 'substandard. Eighty per cent of. the : imrriigrant families lived in three or fewer rooms. or f Chinese immigrants i n . -a Estrange and sometimes hostile ·riand. · ..- -- · ;: . Like tongs, the gangs would I like the story to stop there -- | with their efforts to become the. ? Boys Clubs of their people." i'This is not a gang," protests * Kit Fong, 24. He and his broth- l er, Joe, 18, run the Chung !* Ching Yee. Joe was sentenced V to life in prison recently on a * conspiracy to murder con- »viction. "The police and the j newspapers, they put dirt in . our mouths," .Kit says. "They \ call us the 'Joe Fong Gang.'" ^ But like the tongs of old -- ', whose rivalries got so strong «· that by 1900 newspapers were '. running box scores: Hop Sings, \ 3: Suey Sings, 2 -- the gangs t are deadly. "If a leader say, I 'Go kill that guy,'" says Tom I Tom, matter of factly, "you go i do it." .: - i In the 1900s, authorities were * so stymied by the tongs- that ^everybody but the police » seemed to know when and '- where the hatchet men would He says he and seven other Hong Kong Chinese began bur- glarizing homes and businesses. They called themselves the Bugs, referring pridefully to their small size, which enabled them to slither through Iran- Francisco. Youngsters like Lak Man Tarn "hotbedded," or slept in shifts. Others spent hard, cold nights in communal bathtubs. The unemployment rate dou- soms, climb drains and other- bled for the rest of the city, wise gain forbidden access. And those who were able to "The eight of us liked to find jobs didn't make much wear black," Kit For.g says, money. Lak Man Tarn's father "They couldn't see us in the found his professional skill use- dark ... They arrested me, less. There wasn't much call in gave me charges. Most of the the United States for a Canto- gang got caught. At Log Cabin nese lawyer who couldn't speak (reform school) ... that's English. where I catch my English ... So, like many others, he got a "- Kit Fong and ^5, Man Tam job in a Chinese restaurant as a bus boy; Large restaurants paid the minimum wage. Smaller ones paid $1 an hour, plus meals, minus tips. Most mothers bent over sew- ing machines in the 150 piece- work shops scattered through the back streets. Many worked seven days a week. Some earned as little as 50 cents an hour. There was jade and teakwood on Gum Son, and there were Ming coffee tables and K'ang 1 clash. Today, the most recent cupboards. But they were in « organized crime report by Cali- the shops along Grant Street, 2 fornia's attorney general lists for lhe round-eyed tourists. Up- stairs, where the Chinese lived; were the possessions of K'u-li laborers ... poverty ... and despair. ·- Lak Man-Tarn didn't go to school. It seemed a waste of time. He couldn't speak English, and one Chinese gang, the You-Lee, that has been defunct for more than a year and fails to note Altogether the existence of the Chung Ching Yee. The gangs, like the tongs, .haxe^thoroughly embarrassed their elders. "We're ashamed found common cause against the ABCs. "The ABC had more people and they made trouble for the FOB," Lak Man Tarn remembers, his walnut eyes flashing. "They make us stick together. If you go together, you can save yourself, and that was the way Wah Ching was organized." Everybody agreed. Kit Fong says: "We don't take no more. Fifteen of us, we created the Wah Ching. We fight the ABCs all the way." Lak Man Tam was no Mil- quetoast. "When I get mad," he says, "I'm a real mixer. Nickname is Crazy Six. I'm number six in my family." He picked up another nick- name, too: Tom Tom. Those were busy days, 1967, 1968 and 1969. There was unin- telligible education to protest: School administrators to pelt Kitchen TM IWickes build .an idear ff ROYAL OAK IKITCHEN CABINETS i 2 wall cabinets, 2 base cabi- nets, sink front valance. FRIGIDAIRE COOK TOP Glean, even-heat cooking. 2-6" and 2-8" cooking units. FRIGIDAIRE BUILT-IN WALL OVEN [ C u s t o m i z e your k i t c h e n . B'uildsJrito wall or 24" cabinet FRIGIDAIRE BUILT-IN RANGE Automatic oven control. Door lifts-off for easy cleaning. I FRIGIDAIRE UNDERCOUNTER DISHWASHER | Super surge washing action, little or no pre-rinsing. m^mm KITCHEN COUNTER TOPS [Durable post-formed counter tops. Beautiful white sequin in stock. 3?'x 21" DOUBLE BOWL STAINLESS STEEL SINK Rich stainless steel, compliments any motif. Self-rimming design. 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Clipped from
  1. The Danville Register,
  2. 22 Mar 1973, Thu,
  3. Page 26

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  • Chinese Gang War growing in San Francisco

    Rick_Womack – 24 Jun 2013

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