SAN FRANCISCO—On Monday, September 4, marked the 40 year anniversary of the Golden Dragon Massacre in San Francisco’s Chinatown, which took the lives of five people and injured 11.
The mass murder occurred on September 4, 1977 at the Golden Dragon Restaurant (known today as the Imperial Palace), located at 816 Washington Street in San Francisco. Tom Yu, the head of a Chinese gang known as the Joe Boys, intended to terminate members of the Wah Ching, a rivalry gang. At around 2:00 a.m., the Joe Boys received word that members of the Wah Ching group were present at the restaurant.
At approximately 2:40 a.m., Yu and his fellow gang members drove from Pacifica to Chinatown, parked a car which they allegedly stole, and entered the eatery armed with guns. Two of the members opened fire. Among the fallen victims were teenagers Calvin Fong and Donald Kwan, along with two other customers and a member of the wait staff.
ABC 7 News had the opportunity to speak with Howard Green, a survivor of the mass shooting. Green told ABC reporters that he and a group of friends were visiting San Francisco following their graduation from college. When the armed men began shooting, Green said that he and his friends “hit the deck” before “all hell broke loose.”
Green showed ABC the pair of jeans he wore the night of the trauma, which were stained with blood. He and Tom Berry, with whom he roomed in college, were both shot.
When officials took the suspects into justice, Green was in attendance at each of the trials, during which he managed to testify.
“After the first trial there was police protection provided for us because there was some concern that perhaps we were targets for more retribution,” said Green to ABC 7 News.
In response to the massacre, the SFPD Investigations Bureau cultivated a branch called the Gang Task Force (GTF). After its formation in 1977, 25 designated officials were instructed to put a halt to the heightened number of Asian gang-related crimes. Five years later, in 1982, the GTF began investigating crimes committed by Hispanic gangs. In 1989, the GTF incorporated investigations of African-American gang-related crimes.
“Take more risks because life every day is a risk,” Green told ABC.