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Twice Burned 

A Hong Kong mob's attempted takeover of Chinatown went up in flames when a gang arsonist snitched. Now Peter Chong, the mob's alleged U.S. leader, is in custody and feeling the heat.

Wednesday, Jun 14 2000
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Page 8 of 8

She scoffs at the notion of the Whole Earth Association, dismissing it as the title of a Hong Kong comic book. "It's all an absurd fiction," she says. Her client is a family man, she says, a humble entertainment promoter. "He's basically a very nice guy. His business operations have always been legitimate."

Chong appeared thin and a bit haggard, dressed in red and prison pink, as he appeared in court last week hoping to be released on bail. Kallins told the judge he could be safely released while awaiting trial. Chong is in bad health, suffering from a urinary tract infection, and has no intention of leaving the country, Kallins told the court.

Chong's kids live in the area, Kallins said, and his daughter, Kitty, is in her last year of medical school. Chong would live with Kitty, Kallins says; to be separated from her would be akin to cutting off Chong's right arm.

But prosecutor Schaefer reminded the court that Chong didn't appear especially concerned about his daughters when he was running from the law for years. Facing a life sentence, Chong would have good reason to flee the country again, this time to mainland China, where the United States would have a much more difficult task in bringing him back.

Brazil decided to deny bail and Chong remains in federal custody. Nine years after an arson that went awry, Peter Chong will finally feel the heat.

About The Author

Matt Isaacs

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