November 8, 1908
The firm of Quong on Loong, Chinese merchants, 317 South Clark street, Chicago, has offered a reward of $500 for the arrest and conviction of the murderers of Wong Chee Tock, a member of the firm whose body was found Friday morning near the Burlington depot at Birmingham, Mo. Harry S. Rerardon, Chinese interpreter attached to the courts at New York city, says he will give an additional $100 reward. Mr. Reardon has been visiting the city for the last week.
Mr. Reardon said last night that the Wong family of Chinese in Kansas City would add still more. They are related to the victim, and had the body moved to Liberty. A coroner's jury yesterday brought in a verdict that Wong Chee Tock came to his death at the hands of parties unknown to the jury. The body possibly will be sent to Chicago for burial tomorrow morning. In case it is not it will be buried here.
It was first believed that Wong Chee Tock had been smuggled over the line from the Mexican border, as some small change in Mexican money was found on the body, but Mr. Reardon, who knows all of the wealthy Chinese in America, says this is not the case. Mr. Reardon said last night:
"This man has lived in America many years, and had a right to leave the country and return at will. He left Chicago about one year ago, I learn today from there, and made a visit to China. On his return he landed in Mexico, so as to visit his friend, Kawong Wo On, a merchant of Juarez, Mexico. This accounted for his having Mexican money on his person.
"The dead man is well known in Chicago, and was considered wealthy. It is my opinion that Tock took the wrong train out of Kansas City, and may have been put off at Birmingham to catch another train. It may have been that tramps who found him waiting there in the night took advantage of his ignorance of his surroundings, enticed him into the brush near the track, and killed him for what he might have on him. It is a well-known fact that a Chinaman never travels without plenty of money, and that he always buys a through ticket to his destination.
Mr. Reardon says he never heard of a Chinese tramp, and does not think that Tock could have been induced to enter a box car. The theory of the Clay county police is that the Chinaman was murdered in this city, and then thrown from a train passing Birmingham. His body was covered with blood from a stab wound in the left breast, and his face was crushed in, as with a stone. Mr. Reardon says there is blood on some of the stones near where the body was found.
The affair is very much of a mystery, and has created great excitement among the Chinese of this and nearby cities. Another thing which puzzles Mr. Reardon is why -- if Tock was killed near where the body was found -- the murderers should have taken the trouble to have dragged the body near the railway tracks, apparently many hours after the murder. The body showed signs of decomposition when found Friday morning, and the man is believed to have been killed two or three days before. What made the officials believe that the body was thrown from a passing train was its position near the tracks, and also the fact that the coat, shoes and hat were found along the tracks north of the body, as if they had been thrown from a train bound in that direction.
The police of this city say that they are not working on this case, for the reason that the Clay county authorities have not asked their aid.