With the capture late Monday night of Leong Moon, interpreter on the Japanese liner Nippon Maru, and four chinese girls, the immigration authorities are confronted with one of the most brazen attempts at smuggling and bribery they have ever had to deal with.
From admissions made by the girls the Federal investigators believe they were able to expose a ring for the smuggling of Chinese woman and coolies into this country as extensive as the opium conspiracies with which the customs authorities have been confronted recently.
When questioned by the officials the girls said they had been drugged at Hongkong and lured aboard the ship. They were placed in a compartment in the coal bunkers, and during the long voyage across the Pacific food was lowered to them. They suffered greatly, having only a small quantity of rice to eat and the exposure also told on them.
It is apparent that the girls are still withholding information which may involve those in the plot, but the investigators believe that they will speak more freely when they find they are not to be harmed. Promises of rich husbands and an easy life here are still sealing the lips of the girls, in the opinion of those in charge of the investigation.
PLANS WENT WRONG.
The very assurance with which Leong Moon walked ashore from the Nippon [Maru] accompanied by the Chinese girls, who were disguised as men, leads the officials to believe that "the way had been greased," and that the only reason why the "Celestial slaves" are not now occupying dens in Chinatown is because the arrangement of the smugglers miscarried.
Cornered in his attempt to take the girls away from pier 34, where the Nippon Maru is lying, Leong Moon, who is an American born Chinese, attempted, it is alleged, to bribe Customs Guard W. H. Deasy with a sum more than equal to that which the official derives from the Government annually.
Deasy was doing duty at the gangway of the Nippon when about 10 o'clock he was surprised to see five Chinese come down under the arc lights. One he recognized as Moon, the interpreter; the other four were clad in long overcoats and wore soft hats pulled down over their faces.
"What's this," demanded the customs guard.
"That's all right, you know," said Moon confidently.
Evidently Deasy was the wrong man, the authorities think, as Moon seemed nonplussed for the moment.
"Take $250 and let my friends go," the interpreter is alleged to have said.
According to Deasy, Moon raised the sum until he offered $1000 for the customs man to keep his eyes and mouth closed.
Deasy reported his surprising discovery to Deputy Surveyor of the Port Charles A. Stephens, who ordered him to place the Chinese in custody on the Nippon over night.
GIRLS BECOME HYSTERICAL.
Yesterday morning Moon and the girls were taken to the office of Deputy Surveyor Stephens. The girls, who are between 18 and 19 years of age, became hystical, believing that they were to be executed or meet with some dire fate in their strange surroundings. It was also evident that they were exhausted from lack of sleep and want of food. Confronted by Deasy Moon sullenly refuted all the guard's charges, denying that he had ever seen him, that he had offered a bribe, or that he knew anything about the girls.
Moon and the girls, who gave the names Tai Moy, Ah Moy, Tai Yow and Ah Yen, were taken to the immigration station at Angel Island. Moon will be charged in the United States Court this morning with violations of the immigration laws.
Deasy, whose integrity was responsible for the nipping of the plot, was highly commended by Surveyor of the Port Duncan McKinlay.
W.H. Avery, assistant general manager of the Toyo Kisen Kaisha, is also conducting an investigation into smuggling conspiracy to ascertain who among the crew of the vessel were responsible for the girls being aboard and their maintenance.