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Q: 1920's-40's opium trade question ( No Answer,   0 Comments )
Subject: 1920's-40's opium trade question
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: thebigp-ga
List Price: $35.00
Posted: 07 May 2006 20:58 PDT
Expires: 06 Jun 2006 20:58 PDT
Question ID: 726434
For sometime between 1920 and 1940, a key figure in opium and heroin
smuggling into the US was a Chinese man named Chang Wu.  He controlled
everything on the west coast.  What I need is verification of this man
and some details of his role in the smuggling of opium.  The spelling
I used may not be correct, it may be a phoenetic spelling of a Chinese
name.  Maybe one of you researchers know a bit about Chinese names and
can suggest alternate spellings.  When I say he controlled the west
coast, I can't say for sure if he controlled it  from overseas or from
here in the US, just that he was the head guy and was eventually taken
down by the US Treasury Department.  He may also have had something to
do with the smuggling of aliens and/or white slavery, but I can't be
100% sure of this.

Any info would be greatly appreciated!!!  Good luck!!!

Clarification of Question by thebigp-ga on 09 May 2006 06:45 PDT
I have a document that spells his name as Chiang Wu and in another
section of the document it is hyphenated as Chiang-Wu.

Hope this helps, Researchers!


Request for Question Clarification by brettquest-ga on 22 May 2006 21:47 PDT
Hello thebigp-ga:

Is a short biographical treatment of the individual what you have in
mind for an acceptable answer, or would you want a more thematic
concentration on opium in the US during the 1920s-40s?

Clarification of Question by thebigp-ga on 23 May 2006 07:03 PDT
I'm looking for information on Chang Wu and his specific activities,
not so much the opium wars in general.

Clarification of Question by thebigp-ga on 23 May 2006 21:55 PDT
In an effort to help you researchers, here's the few details I know about Chang-Wu:
He (and his gang) dealt in opium and aphrodisiacs, 1920s-1930s.
He also smuggled young girls from Asia to the West coast for prostitution.
I believe he had fairly close ties to Luciano, but Luciano mainly
controlled the East coast.
I believe US Treasury Dept agents killed Chang Wu, some of his gang,
and  a few   unfortunate young girls caught in the crossfire around
1935 or 1936.
That's all I know.  I hope one of you researchers can find out some more for me!
Thanks for your time.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 25 May 2006 13:20 PDT

Well, I've done a fair amount of looking on this one, but the name you
provided just doesn't seem to turn up in any of its
iterations...certainly not as one of the major players.

Only two articles I saw contained any link between Chinese opium
smuggling and Lucky Luciano, and only one of these mentioned Chinese
names.  A very large, nationwide federal bust took place in 1937:

Secrets of Chinese Order Learned by 2 U.S. Agents Who Became Members
New York Times
Nov 21, 1937

The Chinese names mentioned in the article are:

Yee On Li alias Yee Hain
Chin Joo Hips 
Chin Joo Hips Jr
Ng Yee Song
Don Bing
Leong Hom 
Tong Sung
Don On
Wong Wai
Leong Leong
Fred Lour Foy
Ching Ming
Chin Joo Hip
Jimmy Wong
Ko Wing Chuck

Without more info to go on, I'm not sure what else we can do.  You
mentioned you "have a document" that mentions Chang Wu.  What document
are you referring to?  The more you can tell us, the better the odds
we can find something.


Clarification of Question by thebigp-ga on 25 May 2006 21:27 PDT
Thanks for all your effort pafalafa.

The document I refer to is a letter written in 1948 to my family and
is personal in nature but I'll quote the part of the letter that deals
with my question about Chiang Wu. I have abbreviated one name, the
recipient of the letter, my family member whose name would be of no
help in this research.

    "About this time we had our hands full with white slavery and knew
that Luciano on the East Coast and Chiang Wu on the West Coast were
the principals but we had no proof.  Again Mr. Byrne sent Gramp to
take over, and he tied up with Chiang Wu first, and L., I think he
went insane.  Chiang Wu and his opium, his aphrodisiacs and their use
on young girls to get them in the racket, completely drove him off
balance.  I was in the office with Mr. Byrne, for I was about to take
over the reigns, when Gramp came in with a sample of the drug
aphrodisiacs and explained it all.  He was pale, his eyes slits and
cold grey, and when he gets that way keep clear of him.  He could
hardly talk, asked to have an extra guard thrown around his family in
Poughkeepsie, and left.  He had done more talking than I ever knew him
to do, and until I received the telegram from Frisco asking for help,
I did not know his whereabouts.  But that wire created a furor, for I
left by special train, picking up men as I moved across the country,
men who knew Gramp and who he could depend on.  When I got there I saw
him for exactly 40 minutes, he talked all the time giving
instructions, and left without saying one decent word except to meet
him in three hours by the watch.  When we broke through three hours
later, he was not a very pleasant sight to see, but his work was done
and Chiang Wu gang days were over forever.  But I had my troubles too
for Gramp's two main men went crazy too when they saw him.  Until we
could disarm them, Mendoza and Valdez had a field day, anything with
pig tails went down under their system of elimination.

Sore, bruised and battered, Gramp came back to the East with us and
started after Luciano, for he had the chain of evidence to hook him in
with Chiang Wu.  It was not long before he locked Luciano up, and the
Courts banished him from the country forever.  But white slavery was
also broken up, and it was reasonably safe for young girls to move
about the street again."

That's all I have on Chang Wu.  Incidentally, pafalafa, you tried to
help me with my research a couple years ago.  It's still the same
project, just a different question this time.  Here's the one from
2004 if you're interested:

Thanks again for your time.  This research is very important to me.
I have emailed a Chinese gentleman who is going to send me a list of
possible spellings of Chiang Wu and I'll post them when he returns my
email.  He did say  Wu is probably Woo, a name he says is as popular
as Smith is in America.

Hope this helps!
There is no answer at this time.

There are no comments at this time.

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