One of three men convicted in a 1983 massacre that left 13 people dead at a Seattle, Washington gambling club has been granted parole. The Washington Department of Corrections parole board has decided to release Wai Chiu “Tony” Ng, who served 30 years of his 35 year sentence. He was convicted of robbery and assault for his role in the shooting at the Wah Mee Club. Ng will be released 35 – 40 days from Friday to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and will be deported to Hong Kong.
Fourteen people were tied up, robbed, and then shot in the head at the club. One man survived to identify the robbers. Ng appeared before the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board over the summer. He said if he were to be released he wouldn’t fight deportation because he wants to return to Hong Kong to see his sick father. The board noted his positive attitude and work ethic during his time in prison.
His co-defendants, Kwan Fai “Willie” Mak and Benjamin Ng (no relation) were convicted of aggravated murder and are both serving life without parole sentences. Unlike his co-defendants, Ng was not convicted of murder, but was convicted on 13 counts of first-degree robbery and a single count of assault. Sentencing rules in place at the time allowed a state parole board to determine when Ng was fit for release.
He had been charged at trial with the murders, but said he was forced to participate in the massacre by Mak. Prosecutors claim the jury shouldn’t have been allowed to hear that defense, but the jurors found in favor of Ng and didn’t convict him of the murders.
“The Wah-Mee massacre stands as the worst mass murder in Seattle history,” King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said in a statement, “There is little doubt that Tony Ng caught some breaks in his favor…the verdict of the jury set in motion the possibility of his eventual release.”