In 1983 Wai Chiu "Tony" Ng and two other men entered the Wah Mee gambling club, where they hog-tied, robbed and killed all but one of the club's patrons -- a man who later testified against them -- in the city's bloodiest mass killings, the Wah Mee Massacre.
Now, 26 years later, Ng -- who is serving the sixth of his seven consecutive five-to-life terms -- is up for review by a state parole board. This morning, members of the parole board held a public hearing at Beacon Hill Public Library, gathering input from prosecutors and families of Wah Mee victims for their upcoming review, expected sometime in January.
"Days ago there was an offender who shot and killed four police officers. The offender was a parolee. Are you scared?" asked Nin Yee Lock Wong, who's husband, Kim Lun Wong, was killed in the massacre.
The question before the board is not whether to release Ng into the public. Rather, the board must decide whether or not they will end Ng's sixth term, allowing him to begin serving his seven and final five-to-life term. Prior paroled boards have opted to shorten Ng's previous terms considerably. If the three member board agrees to let Ng start serving his seventh sentence, he could be released as early as 2015, though he will still have to appear before it at least once more, when his term again comes up for review.
"The fact that 'we're even here considering a path that could release this inmate within a few years is further evidence that he's received far too many breaks," said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. "I don't understand how seven consecutive life sentences puts us here, 24 years later, considering a move that would put him on his very last count."
Ng, who fled to Canada for 18 months before he was arrested, was only charged with armed robbery and assault due to a legal technicality, Satterberg said. The other men were convicted of murder and are serving life sentences. Additionally, as a condition of his extradition, Canadian officials made U.S. authorities guarantee they wouldn't seek the death penalty.
"I'm not a supporter of the death penalty, but I do support the concept and practice of life behind bars for heinous crimes," said Doris Wong-Estridge, who's father's cousin Wing "Uncle Bill"Wong was the first to die in the shooting. "What can be more heinous than the slaughter of 13 people? Tony Ng made his choice more than 26 years ago."