Bill Lee (author)

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Bill Lee
Born William Lee
(1954-10-07) October 7, 1954 (age 62)
San Francisco, California
Residence San Francisco, California
Nationality United States
Alma mater San Francisco State University
Occupation Author
Employer Bill Lee & co.
Known for Ex-Joe Boy member, ex-ESL employee
Spouse(s) Kathy Lee (m. 1981–82)
Children 1
Website Official Website

William "Bill" Lee (born October 8, 1954) is an American writer. He is the author of three books. He is a former member of the San Francisco Chinatown gang that was responsible for the 1977 Golden Dragon Massacre.


Lee grew up in San Francisco's Chinatown, and went to Marina Middle School, Galileo High School and was a student majoring in psychology at San Francisco State University when he joined the Chung Ching Yee, also known as the Joe Boys.[1]

Although not indicted, he was questioned by homicide investigators about the 1977 Golden Dragon Massacre. The massacre was one of the deadliest in San Francisco History, for which five other Joe Boys were jailed after injuring 15 people and killing 5 others.[2][3] In 1988, Lee was an employee at ESL when former employee Richard Farley fatally shot seven people and wounded four others at its headquarters. Lee recalled the tragedy in detail and his role in rescuing coworkers in his first book, Chinese Playground: A Memoir.[4]


Lee is the author of three books. His first, Chinese Playground: A Memoir (1999) is a memoir of gang life in 1960s and 1970s San Francisco Chinatown which caused him to be approached and threatened by former gang associates who told him he should not have written the book and made veiled threats against him and his family.[5] He is also the author of Born to Lose: Memoirs of a Compulsive Gambler, (2005) which details his 40-year gambling addiction and recovery. Lee's latest book is Born-Again Buddhist. He has written numerous articles for the San Francisco Chronicle and Asian Week and has been featured on the History Channel, A&E Network, Spike TV, FOX network, PBS, Radio Television Hong Kong, NPR, and in national print publications.[6]

Lee is the principal of Bill Lee and Associates, a senior management and technical search firm based in California. He has also counseled serious offenders at the Juvenile Justice Center (YGC) and Marin County Juvenile Hall.



  1. ^ Chao, Julie (9 March 1999). "Inside Chinatown's gangs". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  2. ^ Associated Press. "Make first arrest in Golden Dragon massacre 1977". The Hour-Norwalk, CT. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Inside Chinatown's gangs
  4. ^ Notes from the Underworld
  5. ^ Wallace, Bill (23 June 2011). "Remembering Life Inside a Chinatown Gang". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  6. ^ Born to Lose: Memoirs of a Compulsive Gambler: Bill Lee: Books

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