Pink Levi's
Part Four

Thanks to the temporary, hopefully, delay of the Golden Dragon case against Peter Ng, Gan Wah Woo was able to continue in his efforts to get concrete evidence to back up his claims. His veracity exonerated somewhat by Hotdog's I.D. of Peter Ng, he readied himself for a dangerous assignment the Gang Task Force had asked him to fill.
He had named another member of the Golden Dragon team, Sai Ying Lee, 21, as a driver of one of the two getaway cars. Sai Ying Lee was the elder brother of Stuart Lin's old friend Henry Lee who had noodled the won-ton caper. Police rated Sai on a par with Winston Churchill's 1939 remark about the Russians: "...a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
Of all those eventually to be sought in the Golden Dragon case, the elusive Sai (pronounced "sigh"), also known as Kam or Gum, would ever remain the most enigmatic of the lot. Thin of build and on the tall side compared with his mates, he was not an unattractive young man except, it is said, for his eyes. They were cold, deadly cold, perhaps in the mold of the stereotypically "inscrutable Chinee." Never to be heard of him were such words as those Dan Foley once used to describe Gan Wah Woo: "a sensitive person." It was thought that Sai would have liked running his own personal gang. He had charisma.
Sai, like Peter Ng, was already wanted on a warrant in connection with an incident that occurred in mid-November. Then, in late November, Ross Arai of the Asian Task Force in Los Angeles called the Gang Task Force with the news that Sai possibly was down there. Tim Simmons had sent some information to them about their local Joe Boys. They staked-out the house and arrested Sai Ying Lee. He was transported back to San Francisco.
Sai, again like Peter Ng, hung tough when interrogated and denied knowing anybody when shown the mug shots of his friends. He was clapped into jail.
The scenario dreamed up by the Force for Gan Wah to follow began with a phony arrest on December 12th, the same day Hotdog Louie identified Peter Ng from a photograph.
Persona non grata at Galileo High, where he had once been an unsuccessful student expelled for riotous escapades and worse grades, Gan Wah returned to the alma mater for a bit of obnoxious loitering around the old place.
A.T.F., purveyors to the Task Force of useful commodities like trusty islander Cornell Lee in Wayne Yee's dynamite case, helped to stage an arrest.
Tim Simmons, wearing an angry face, and A.T.F.'s Jim Smith and Ted Royster, catching sight of the swimming dragon careering around the campus making a nuisance of himself, gave chase. They won.
They took him downtown, booked him on a phony charge of possessing a weapon, and threw him into jail.
Sai Ying Lee looked up when Gan Wah tumbled into his cell. "Why are you in here?" he queried. "They got me for possessing a gun."
"Where did they get you?"
"At Galileo."
The boys spent two or three days together, and rueful Sai, miserable at having been caught, found solace in talk--not about the Golden Dragon, which was why Gan Wah really was there, but about being on the run, first to Sacramento and then to L.A.
By the third day, it was pretty clear that Sai would never talk about the Golden Dragon, so the Task Force decided to get Gan Wah the hell out of there before Sai Ying Lee caught on to the game.
Gan Wah got sprung on the cap pistol case--a logical end to this abortive play.
Gan Wah was back on the street in a trice, cover and all. It was just as well. He had proved his worth, at least in his willingness to do what the Task Force asked.
His next assignment turned out to be the one that broke the Golden Dragon case. And it was based, literally, on something that had come from him.
The other shooter on the upper level, apart from Peter Ng, had been singularly noteworthy, to a number of witnesses, for his pants; they were, by consensus, pink. To some, they appeared to be reddish tan, to others somewhat peach colored, but to all they were at least "pinkish."
Gan Wah knew those pants well. On November 18, 1977, Tim Simmons and Fred Lau (translating) had accompanied him to the Cannery, an atmospheric shopping, entertainment, and restaurant complex at Fisherman's Wharf, which was once a real cannery belonging to the Del Monte Company. At the Topps & Trowsers haberdashery, they tried to locate a similar pair, but the stock was sold out.
"I bought him the pink pants, Levi-type," Gan Wah had reported earlier, "because he didn't have any pants to wear. When he tore them up, I was there in his home. I bought the Levi's just the day before they all went to the Golden Dragon Restaurant. I paid 15 dollars for them, cash, on Friday. Because I bought him the pants, he explained to me the reason why he was throwing them away."
The boy who wore those pants to the Golden Dragon massacre, and then destroyed them, was Stuart Lin.

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2000 Brockman Morris