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Infamous Inmates:

Fong Ching "Little Pete"

Fong Ching
Fong Ching, alias Little Pete, as a Folsom prisoner in 1887

"Little Pete" came to San Francisco in 1874 at age 10. While still in his teen years, he started a shoe business, but also got involved with local gangs. Pete became known as The King of Chinatown. In 1886, a rival gang attempted to murder Little Pete, but Pete's bodyguard was faster and killed the assailant.

After Pete's bodyguard was arrested for murder, Pete attempted to bribe the arresting officers with $400 each. Pete was arrested for attempted bribery. Pete hired noted attorney Hall McAllister (now memorialized by McAllister Street) and used the unusual defense of admitting the bribery attempt, but claiming that the officers took the bribe and only arrested Pete when Pete wouldn't give them more money. This defense won Pete two hung juries, but he was convicted on the third try and sent to Folsom Prison to serve five years. After his release, Pete took up various activities including gambling, slave girl trafficking and protection. In 1897, while Pete's bodyguards were attending a Chinese New Year celebration, Pete was shot to death while sitting in a barber's chair. He was 33 years old.

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