Sai Wing Mock

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"Mock Duck" redirects here. For the food, see Mock duck.

Sai Wing Mock (a/k/a Mock Duck) (1879 – 23 July 1941) was a Chinese-American criminal and leader of the Hip Sing Tong, which replaced the On Leong Tong as the dominant Chinese-American Tong in the Manhattan Chinatown in the early 1900s.

Emigration[edit]

Mock Duck arrived in the United States during the late 1890s, settling in New York's Chinatown, where he formed the Hip Sing Tong, a minor criminal organization. Within a few years, Mock Duck challenged Tom Lee and the On Leong Tong for control of criminal activities in Chinatown, and for the police and political protection of Tammany Hall.

Manhattan Chinatown[edit]

In 1900, Mock Duck demanded half of Lee's revenue from illegal gambling operations. When Lee refused, within 48 hours Mock Duck declared a Tong war against the On Leongs. Hip Sing men set one of Lee's boarding houses on fire, which resulted in the deaths of two men. In another incident, an On Leong man was decapitated by two Hip Sing hatchetmen, and open warfare began in Chinatown.

One Chinatown historian describes Mock Duck in 1904 as "strutting around on Pell Street, covered in diamonds," adding that, at that time, "Mock Duck is firmly in control of the Hip Sing, his sinister image bolstered by his long, lethal-looking fingernails, which signal he is too grand to do the dirty work he assigns to others."[1]

Mock Duck survived repeated attempts on his life and wore a chain mail vest. He was named by the press the "Clay Pigeon of Chinatown" and the "Mayor of Chinatown". During several attempts on his life, Mock Duck reportedly squatted down in the street and fired at his attackers with two handguns with his eyes closed.

After Lee put a bounty on Mock Duck and the rest of the Hip Sings, Mock Duck formed an alliance with the rival Four Brothers Tong. Mock Duck took advantage of the reform crusade started by Charles Parkhurst. Duck posed as a businessman, and supplied information on the On Leong criminal operations to Parkhurst, including addresses. The authorities raided On Leong opium dens and gambling houses on Pell and Doyers Streets. However, Mock Duck held back the addresses of the more lucrative Mott Street operations for leverage against Lee. The warring Tongs signed a truce in 1906, but the Hip Sings and the On Leongs were again at war the following year.

Mock Duck finally defeated Lee in the "Bow Kum" Tong war of 1909-1910. He was arrested several times during the next decade, during which time a number of attempts were made on his life. But he was convicted only once in 1912, for operating a policy game, and served two years imprisonment in Sing Sing Prison. In 1932, Mock Duck agreed to an arrangement with the US and Chinese governments to declare a peace among the Tongs of Chinatown and he retired to Brooklyn where he lived until his death on 23 July 1941.[2]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Hall, Bruce Edward, Tea That Burns: A Family Memoir of Chinatown, The Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 1998, pp. 142-3.
  2. ^ Brooklyn Death Index: "Mock Sai 62 y July 23, 1941 15191 Kings County

References[edit]

  • Devito, Carlo. Encyclopedia of International Organized Crime. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. ISBN 978-0-8160-4848-9

Further reading[edit]

  • Asbury, Herbert. The Gangs of New York. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1928. ISBN 978-1-56025-275-7
  • MacIllwain, Jeffrey Scott. Organizing Crime in Chinatown: Race and Racketeering in New York City, 1890-1910. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2004. ISBN 978-0-7864-1626-4
  • O'Kane, James M. The Crooked Ladder: Gangsters, Ethnicity and the American Dream. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1994. ISBN 978-0-7658-0994-0