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Monday, July 26, 2010

Bad Luck Chuck

Ninety-eight years ago today Chinatown was rocked by another Tong murder when…ok, it didn’t really rock it. Murders were pretty frequent back then I was just trying to jazz things up…anyways thirty year old Hip Sing member Chuck Jow was sitting in the rear of the restaurant he worked at peeling potatoes. (and you thought gang life wasn’t glamorous).

Jow sat near a window working his peeler while a guy with a rifle took aim from the roof of the building across the back lot. Five times the trigger was pulled and two bullets went into Chuck’s neck and another in his head. Taters were off the menu.

Why would anyone want to kill a spud stud? Turns out that Jow was formerly a member of the On Leong who switched allegiances. Not saying that’s why he was killed but just throwing it out there.


Helen Ginger said...

Would Jow be a gangster or a gang member? I think of gangsters as tommygun toting guys.

Pat Downey said...

Closer to a gang member. If I know my tong history, in the US they were originally set up as groups to support Chinese immigrants but within a few decades they began to control the organized crime facets of the Chinatowns. Most business owners belonged to a tong, so you could be a member of a tong and not neccesarily be a criminal, but you could be a criminal and be a tong member.


Those old Chinatown gangsters are very under-appreciated (well as far as criminal lore goes). I'm surprised no one has ever made a movie about Mock Duck or any of those characters. Year of the Dragon is the only movie I can recall that came near the subject, but that was in a modern setting.

Pat Downey said...

Agreed Steve. I to think a period tong war flick would be a grand thing. I believe back in the 20s-30s Chinatowns and tongs captivated the public much more than now.