Wing Shin Yook Prisoner Number 29167

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Wing Shin Yook Prisoner Number 29167 is associated with Little Bourke Street, Melbourne located at these coordinates -37.8132498, 144.9627643

Early on Good Friday morning in 1900 Constable Clarke noticed smoke coming from a Chinese shop in Little Bourke Street. He sounded the fire alarm on Exhibition Street and a fire cart soon arrived. Firemen located the fire in a storeroom among bundles of newspapers, jars, Cameo cigarette boxes, canisters and tin boxes.

Initially, police believed the owner of the grocery store, Wing Shing Yook had lit the fire himself but further enquiries confirmed he was in Ballarat at the time. Despite this alibi, Wing Shing Yook was investigated by the police and his insurance agency.

In his insurance claim, Wing Shing Yook declared a substantial loss on account of a large amount of opium damaged in the fire. Detailed investigations into the damage, however, revealed many of the canisters were empty or contained other substances such as Chinese herbs. The exaggerated insurance statement was declared false and the insurance company filed charges against Wing Shing Yook for perjury. The trial was held at Melbourne Supreme Court and he was sentenced to 12 months’ hard labour.

Record Citation: VPRS 515/P0, Central Register of Male Prisoners, unit 54, folio 35
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Agency: VA 1464 Penal and Gaols Branch, Chief Secretary's Department]
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Date: 1900
Record Type: Prison Register
Event Type: Fire
Language: en
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