The Tapes of Russell Street

Part 10. Frank Tape under investigation and on trial

Daniella Thompson

18 August 2006

Oakland, California, Wednesday Evening, August 19, 1914

Is University Decoy for Chinese Smugglers?


Pseudo Students Enroll in Courses to Evade Law, Is Alleged.

Chinese students who have dropped from the rolls of the University of California within the past two terms, after only a short stay at the institution, will probably be subjected to an inversitgation following inquiries starter here by the Federal immigration authorities which may lead to an investigation of the university rolls. It has been discovered that a large number of Orientals, coming here as students, have attended school but a few days and then disappeared, thus, it is alleged, entering the country under a pretext. Some time ago a similar investigation of private institutions in Oakland and Berkeley was made and several men were questoned. Lately the Federal authorities have redoubled their efforts and have come upon more clews [sic] pointing to a wholesale evasion of the immigration laws.

In Seattle, according to facts disclosed in the inquiry, 116 Chinese ave been brought to American soil as students, disappearing almost immediately after entering institutions. Others, it has developed, came from Vancouver in the tender of an engine.

That it is worth from $500 to $750 to smuggle a Chinese into this country is the statement of local launch men, who declare that veiled offers of this kind have in th epast been made, and the same price is declared by the Federal authorities to be offered in the north. In case of “students” their tuition is paid, or, if a public institution is attended, fees are paid in advance. They attend school for a short time, and then suddenly leave.


The discovery of the school system of avoiding the law came in Seattle, and at this time several of the Chinese were traced to Oakland’s Chinatown, but were never captured.

The matter was probed last night according to the local officials, by the Industiral Relations Commission in Seattle, when full details of the activities of “students” were given out.

Ninety-six Chinese were brought to Seattle from their native land, it was said, by Claude E. Stevens, a Seattle attorney. He placed them in Adelphia College, a northern school, where extensive preparations were made for receiving them. It is declared that within a few months all of them had disappeared. Stevens testified that he received about $3000 in fees for placing the Chinese in schools, but decared he knew nothing of what became of them after they left.

Mrs. Sarah E. Hing of Ehensburg, Wash., the white wife of Moy J. Hing, who describes herself as an “organizer” for the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Young Women’s Christian Association, but admits that she never was appointed to such a position, told of bringing twenty “students” into this country. They were placed in the Cushing Academy at Ashburnham, Mass. They disappeared within a few weeks. Mrs. Hing testified that she was greatly put out by their actions. She still is looking for them, she declared, and just as soon as she finds them she will try to induce them to return to school.

George Nelson, a former fireman on the Great Northern Railroad, admitted that he had smuggled fourteen Chinese into the United States. He now is held in jail here on charges of smuggling. nelson said his usual fee for bringing aliens over the line was $150.

The commission found Frank H. Tape, the suspended Chinese interpreter of the Seattle station, a tartar to deal with. He refused to answer almost every question asked him on the ground that he might incriminate himself. Among the things the commissioners were desirous of knowing were how he banked about $9000 last year, owned an automobile, and dressed his white wife lavishly on a salary of $110 a month.

Tape is an American-born Chinese and is said to be held in high esteem by the Seattle Chinese colony. It was his custom, according to testimony, to ride immigration officials in his automobile on streets where he would pass his countrymen and thus impress them with his standing.

Witnesses testified that it was tape’s custom to take advantage of immigrants seeking admittance by confusing them and that frequently he was given fees or“ tips” upon their being admitted to this country.

According to other witnesses, Chinese who had been illegally admitted through colleges now are held in sibjection by their employers, who work them at low wages under threats of exposure.

After the hearing a copy of the testimony was turned over to Federal authorities with a view to prosecutions. A report bearing some facts similar to those brought out in the present hearing was secretly dispatched to Washington several months ago, but the suspension of Tape is the only result known thus far.

Oakland Tribune, 28 September 1914

Oakland Tribune, 18 December 1914

Continue to Part Eleven

The Tapes of Russell Sreet

Essays & Stories

Copyright © 2006–2012 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.