Tony Ng, jailed for 1983 Seattle massacre, to be deported to Hong Kong

After nearly 30 years in jail for role in Seattle gambling den bloodbath, Tony Ng to be paroled and deported to Hong Kong to be with sick dad

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 October, 2013, 5:30am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 October, 2013, 1:25pm

A Chinese who has spent almost 30 years in a Seattle jail for his role in a cold-blooded Chinatown massacre that left 13 people dead will be released and deported back to Hong Kong.

Tony Ng Wai-chiu, 56, appeared before a closed-door parole hearing in August, telling the prison panel that if he was set free he would not fight deportation because his father was sick.

Ng, who moved to America in 1970, will be released within six weeks on grounds of good behaviour.

The board noted that Ng was "a model inmate" who demonstrated a positive attitude and work ethic in prison. He was said to be a "low risk to reoffend".

Ng had no criminal record before 1983 when, at the age of 26, he was involved in the worst mass murder in Seattle, on the northwest US coast - a deadly power play for control of Chinatown.

Ng insisted he played no part in the shooting or murders of the victims, and the court found no evidence to support the allegation. But he was convicted of robbery and assault. He said he was forced into the crime after receiving threats to his family.

The massacre took place in the basement of the Wah Mee social club, an illegal gambling den in the heart of Seattle's Chinatown. The plan was to leave no clues or witnesses.

Fourteen people were tied up, robbed of US$15,000 (HK$98,000 or HK$273,000 at current prices) and shot in the head. Police arrived to find themselves ankle-deep in blood. All of those slain were found lying face down on the floor.

One man, Wai Chin, survived, despite being wounded in his neck and jaw, and managed to untie himself, crawl out of the club and call for help.

Chin's survival was crucial in identifying the three assailants, including killers Willie Mak Kwan-fai and Benjamin Ng Kin, who brutally murdered 13 of his friends. Tony Ng is no relation to Benjamin Ng.

Charged with murder, Tony Ng was jailed in April 1985 on 13 counts of first-degree robbery and one count of assault, after spending 18 months on the run in Canada.

Two years earlier, Mak and Benjamin Ng had received life sentences without parole for multiple counts of aggravated murder.

According to local US television, during his sixth and final parole hearing, Ng told the prison panel that he was now rehabilitated and had learned a lot during his incarceration.

Asked to reflect on his victims, he responded: "Scared. I imagine they were scared. I am not a murderer. I have to take responsibility for what I did.

"I hope they forgive me, but I know they won't. I'm so sorry. Don't judge me as a murderer."

In a statement, county prosecutor Dan Satterberg said: "The Wah Mee massacre stands as the worst mass murder in Seattle history, and it seems incomprehensible that one of the participants will soon be free."

The victim's families also opposed Ng's release.

On hearing that Ng would soon be freed, Doris Wong-Estridge, whose father's third cousin Wing Wong was killed in the massacre, told the Seattle Times simply: "Wow."

Despite campaigning for Ng to remain behind bars for the rest of his life, she was said to be relieved when she was told that he would be deported.

Additional reporting by Associated Press