Wah Mee inmate to open up about 1983 massacre

Part 1 of Northwest Asian Weekly’s exclusive with Tony Ng
{read part 2} | {read part 3} | {read part 4}



McNeil inmate Tony Ng, who was sentenced to 35 years in for his participation in the Wah Mee Massacre in 1983, gives his first recent interview to Northwest Asian Weekly in February at McNeil Inmate Corrections Center. (Photo by Amy Phan/NWAW)


By Amy Phan
Northwest Asian Weekly

An unassuming, petite, and stoic-looking Asian inmate blends into the McNeil Island Corrections Center (MICC) scenery well. With his eyes cast to the floor, with neatly shined shoes, and a well-kept outer appearance, only a name — in small sized font on an inmate badge — hints at a more complicated past: Wai-Chiu Ng.

“Tony” Ng was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 1985 for his participation in the Wah Mee Massacre in 1983 — the state’s largest massacre to date — that left 13 people dead and one wounded. The high profile case created waves of national headlines and piqued the interest of many in the community. Ng was 27 years old at the time.

Now 53, Ng says he’s ready to open up and talk about the infamous night and what he hopes for in the future.

“I hope that talking to the media will allow people to get to know me more, know that I am different from Willy and Benjamin,” said Ng.

The Wah Mee Club, located in Chinatown, was an exclusive gambling club, attracting a mainly wealthy Chinese clientele. Tony Ng, Willy Mak, and Benjamin Ng (no relation to Tony Ng) stormed the club around midnight on Feb. 19, 1983, robbing the club and its patrons. The patrons were tied up before being shot in the head.

Mak and Benjamin Ng were convicted of murder in 1983.

Tony Ng was acquitted of murder in 1985, but was convicted of 13 counts of first-degree robbery and one count of second-degree assault — all counts while armed with a deadly weapon.

News coverage focused mostly on Mak and Benjamin Ng as they stood trial. Coverage continued on Mak when he tried to appeal his sentencing throughout the years.

Tony Ng — for the most part — remained out of the public eye.

“I didn’t want the coverage to get big, I didn’t want to relive the memories again,” said Ng.

Over the span of several interviews with Northwest Asian Weekly beginning in February 2009, Ng, speaks about the past, how he has changed, and the future.

“I’m a different person since the first time I came in [prison],” said Ng.

These discussions come close to Ng’s upcoming parole eligibility hearing date (PERD), tentatively scheduled for Jan. 13, 2010. If Ng is found parole eligible, he will begin serving his last five-year count in March 2010.

With good behavior, Ng could be out of prison by 2013.

The sentencing judge in the 1985 trial recommended Ng to serve counts 1, 8, 9, 10, 11 ,12, 13, and 14 concurrently for 60 months. Counts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 were to be served consecutively, each count bringing a minimum of five years.

Ng has had very little infractions while in prison. Based on his good behavior, nearly all of Ng’s counts — with the exception of his most recent count — have been reduced by 33 percent, resulting in roughly three and a half years of jail time for each count. He has served 24 years in jail.

Much like the last time when Ng was up for parole in early 2007, victims’ family members will be able to express their concerns to the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board (ISRB) about his possible release.

During the last hearing, family members of the victims of the Wah Mee Massacre came out and pleaded with the state’s parole board to not release Ng.

The reason why, the victims’ family members said, is because over the span of the last few decades, the absence of their respective loved ones have continued to haunt them.

After reviewing community reactions and considering the role Ng played in the massacre, the ISRB denied Ng parole on his sixth robbery count. It released a statement that stated, “the board cannot in good conscience” allow Ng to be paroled to his last count. The board also added an additional five years to his sixth count.

Ng said he was surprised to find out he was denied parole on his next to last count.

“I didn’t know the victims’ [family members] would come out to the hearing. There had been meetings before, and they never came out,” said Ng.

Prior to the 2007 hearing, Ng had always been paroled to his next count, he said.

In past news coverage, the victims’ family members said they were never notified of any previous parole hearings.

“I felt bad that they had to relive some of those memories,” Ng said.

Unlike the last parole hearing in early 2007, Ng is now interested in discussing what he can do to “hopefully relieve some pain and suffering of the victims.”

Next on the horizon for Ng is a public meeting on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Beacon Hill Library. The victims’ family members will meet with the ISRB to discuss their concerns regarding Ng’s upcoming hearing. ♦

Northwest Asian Weekly Publisher Assunta Ng is not related to Tony Ng or Benjamin Ng.

Amy Phan can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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3 Responses to “Wah Mee inmate to open up about 1983 massacre”


  1. […] press on a feeding frenzy as they called out to the families of those lost once more.  Although Tony Ng was the third, and final, man to be denied parole, the overwhelming press coverage may have […]

  2. […] No 52 | December 19 – December 25 Part 3 of Northwest Asian Weekly’s exclusive with Tony Ng {read part 1} | {read part […]

  3. […] December 12 – December 18, Wah Mee Part 2 of Northwest Asian Weekly’s exclusive with Tony Ng {read part 1} | {read part […]

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