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DECKER-SIDE 213 Although they were not the first, the advent of mass Chinese immigration into the United States and the West Coast would come with the 1849 San Andreas Gold Rush. They worked in the state’s booming gold mines, and later took on agricultural and fishing jobs, factory work - especially in San Andreas’ garment making industry - and most prominently, helped to construct the Central Pacific portion of the first Transcontinental Railroad. These Chinese migrants primarily came from a small area of eight districts to the west side of the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong. The chauvinistic discrimination they faced, ranging from cultural and economic tensions to blatant ethnic persecution, as well as laws passed in order to restrict their immigration and rights, necessitated and helped strengthened traditional Chinese collectivist values. This, and the culture shock of being across the Pacific, caused the springing up of predominantly Chinese areas across San Andreas; Chinatowns. Within these Chinatowns, respectable Chinese merchants, among the most prominent members of the community at the time, made the first efforts to band together and form a network of social and welfare organisations; known in Chinese as kongsi. They were organised based on clan and district lines. Some of the more prestigious of these groups banded together to form the Chinese Six Companies, later known as the CCBA, or Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. Although many Chinese immigrants were affiliated with it, the minority who didn’t - outcasts, those who lacked clan or notable family ties - organised themselves into secret societies known as tongs. The Suey Sing was one of these tongs. It claimed descent from the Hung Mun, a Chinese secret society erroneously referred to as the Chinese Freemasons. They began in the 17th century as a social and political movement to overthrow the newly ascendant Qing dynasty, although aggressive persecution by the ruling authorities drove these societies underground, causing them to adopt secretive customs, rules, ceremonies and operating procedures. The Hung Mun members who emigrated over the Pacific brought these customs with them to the Tongs, seeing as they lacked the necessary credentials and status for membership of the Six Companies. The initial members of the Suey Sing and other Tongs were marginalised, poor, and lacked the opportunities accessible to wealthier Chinese immigrants. They lacked any clear social or political motives, soon finding themselves involved in lucrative criminal activities such as extortion, people smuggling, kidnapping, gambling, murder and prostitution. There were constant feuds and wars between the Tongs over territory, power, and profit - lasting from the 1850s right up until the 1920s, known as the Tong Wars. The Suey Sing, concentrated in its founding location of San Fierro, fervently participated in conflict with rival tongs such as the Hop Sing and Bing Kong. However, growing Chinese community opposition to the tongs, law enforcement crackdowns, and most prominently of all, the 1906 San Fierro earthquake, would be the death knell of the warring tongs. It killed over three thousand people and devastated Chinatown, destroying many businesses, brothels and gambling houses; income that the Tongs had relied on. Following the upheaval, a coerced Peace Committee organised by Inspector Jack Manion of the Chinatown squad forced the last six tongs to call off the raging violence. They began to rebrand themselves as legitimate benevolent groups, and in 1920, the Suey Sing rebranded itself as the Suey Sing Association. Recovery from the devastation was slow, and many of the Tongs withered away with the Old Chinatown. The Suey Sing, however, endured, instead merely beginning to obfuscate its criminal activities whilst remaining a dormant presence in San Fierro’s Chinatown. The second wave of Chinese immigration during and after the Second World War, and the period after the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, brought many more Chinese into San Fierro and Los Santos. Some of these marginalised immigrants formed street gangs to protect themselves from ABCs - or American Born Chinese - including the Suey Sing Boys, called as such as they came under the protection of the Tong; working at various Suey Sing gambling establishments and rackets. It later grew more criminally inclined, although the Tong’s rivalry with the newly ascendant Wah Ching street gang forced the Suey Sing Boys out of San Fierro and into Oakland. The Suey Sing moved its criminal operations from San Fierro to Los Santos and relocated its historical office from Mission Row to the newly booming neighbourhood of Koreatown, on Decker Street. Although the neighbourhood was home to a plurality of Hispanic and Korean residents, it also attracted a burgeoning wave of Hong Kongese and Cantonese immigrants in the early-to-mid 70s, and, much like the Suey Sing Boys, a new generation of young and impressionable thugs led by Hong “Henry” Hai-yin coalesced around the Suey Sing Association’s ah kung, Nicky Wong Nip. Wong and his crew indulged in a variety of criminal activities such as extortion, racketeering, home invasion, robbery, prostitution and murder, although their real money came from Wong’s counterfeit watchmaking factory - operated solely from his own apartment - and through weapons and drug trafficking, aided and abetted by the criminal enterprise within the Suey Sing. Despite intermittent gang violence with rival Asian and Hispanic cliques, and periodical arrests - one of which seeing Hong sent to Bolingbroke for robbing a meeting of the Chinese-American Institute of Engineers - the gang, known as the Decker Street Boys, continued to dominate the north side of Koreatown and its eponymous street. Its members took inspiration from the 1980s heroic bloodshed genre of Hong Kong cinema, with thugs affiliated with the gang known to dress like Chow Yun-fat in his breakout film A Better Tomorrow (1986). This became so prominent of the gang that its members were renowned for their penchant for the "Mark Gor Lau" - the famous dusters worn by Chow’s character Mark Lee in the film. The gang’s activities continued early into the 90s, however, Decker Street’s fortunes were not to last. Increasing law enforcement awareness on the modus operandi of Asian gangs and organised crime cast a spotlight on the activities of the gang and the criminal elements of the Suey Sing. Hong was arrested at Los Santos International Airport with $20,000 in cash for suspected drug trafficking, which alerted the gang to a possible informant within its ranks - the ensuing wave of paranoia and internal feuding paradoxically led to the gang’s own downfall; the real informant was never killed, and Hong and Wong were indicted on federal racketeering and murder charges with the aid of the RICO act. Hong, fearful of facing the death penalty, turned state’s witness and blew the lid on the operations of the Decker Street gang. Wong was sent away for life, while Hong was rewarded with a reduced sentence, a monthly allowance of $2,000, and a new identity and location under the witness protection program. Several other leading Suey Sing figures were also convicted, leading to the Association becoming essentially defunct in Los Santos. The remnants of the gang splintered off into rival sets towards the turn of the millennium, which would in turn soon be cracked down and rendered defunct by the LSPD’s Koreatown squad. However, growing complacency and a lack of funding forced its closure, casting the eye of the law away from Little Seoul. Around this time, three men arrived in Los Santos - Ronald Ho, David Wu, and Kevin Heoi. Affiliated with Fujianese people smugglers and with ties to organised crime in Vancouver, they manipulated the power vacuum amongst the Koreatown Chinese community for their own ends; Ronald strengthened his links with Vancouver, and the elusive Sam Gor or “The Company” drug syndicate, David restarted the local branch of the Suey Sing Association, with Kevin mustering a one Lenny Kwan for the three’s criminal deeds. Their branch of the Suey Sing Association claims to be the rightful organisation, acting in opposition to the wholly legitimate San Fierro branch who have become the first tong to fly the flag of the People’s Republic of China; much to the chagrin of David himself and the established Cantonese-American community in Little Seoul. Wu himself met Bartholomew Chang, who formed a new gang claiming the name of the original Decker alongside Lenny Kwan, under the leadership of the rejuvenated Suey Sing (led by Wu, Heoi, and Ho, with Wu as a nominal first among equals as Chairman). Heoi would later be indicted for historical racketeering charges unrelated to the group’s activities, leading to his arrest and confinement within Twin Towers Correctional Facility. The gang, now known as Decker Side 213, has since grown in size, coalescing around Pearl Mansion House - home of the new Suey Sing office - and local seafood restaurant Wang Chau. Wu and Ho continue to mentor and encourage the operations of the youths, benefiting from the sophisticated counterfeit and drug trafficking routes provided to them by the pan-Asian Sam Gor syndicate in Vancouver and beyond, whilst overseeing a violent group of young Chinese-Americans inspired by Hispanic and African-American gang culture. With the release of Kevin Heoi, the Suey Sing and Decker Side seem set to continue their reign of violence within Little Seoul and their strive for money by any means necessary.