Former Oakland police officer and Alameda County District Attorney, Harry Hu, pleaded guilty to taking bribes from Chinese gang leader Wing Wo Ma, aka “Fat Mark”. The 62-year-old said in a plea agreement, “Ma provided me with things of value that included at least three trips to Las Vegas and a trip to Reno. Ma provided my airfare, hotel accommodations, meals, alcohol, and entertainment that included hiring women,” reports CBS SF Bay Area news. Hu was charged with helping Wing Wo Ma avoid prosecution. This comes after a lifetime of breaking up Chinese gangs.
Harry Hu got his start in law enforcement in Oakland’s Chinatown. He joined the Oakland Police in 1981 and quickly climbed the ranks to run the Oakland Police Department’s gang unit. He was pivotal in cracking down on the gangs that infested the bay area.
Born in Hong Kong his parents moved to San Francisco where he said he was surrounded by gang members. But he chose a different route than his friends who ended up in a life of crime. “I knew a lot of them, some of them were friends. I know all about these guys, how they do things – their mindset,” Hu said about Asian gangs to Luis Martinez, a UC Berkeley journalism student.
As the leader of Oakland’s gang unit, Hu targeted Oakland’s Chinatown gang “Wo Hop To” reported The Mercury News. He worked with the Chinatown community, who often didn’t trust cops, in bridging the gap between the police and the Chinese people. Slowly he gained the trust of the community and his fellow officers. The Asian officers often called him “dai lo” or big brother. The FBI deputized him after his work on the Wo Hop To gang. In 2007 Hu was hired as a County District Attorney Inspector for Alameda.
It is believed that the FBI started to look into Harry Hu while they were investigating Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, who is serving two life sentences for 162 counts, including murder. Chow had connections to Wing Wo Ma who is believed to have executed Jim Kat Kong and Cindy Chen in 2013 in retaliation for Chow.
Ma bribed Hu while he was working as the Alameda DA inspector into helping avoid prosecution from 2008 to 2013. Hu wrote in his plea deal, “I agreed to provide future assistance to him in avoiding prosecution, by taking official action or by refraining from taking official action.” In one instance Harry Hu helped Ma avoid prosecution in a marijuana grow investigation by telling the investigating officers that Ma was a witness, when he was a suspect. In another instance, Hu is believed to have ignored then obstructed in the investigation of the murders of Kong and Chen by Ma. Ma is in custody awaiting trial for several charges.
Harry Hu resigned as the Alameda DA inspector in September. He will be sentenced in April and faces up to five years in prison.
This comes as shock to the Oakland Chinatown residents who hailed him as a hero. Oakland Chinatown community leader Carl Chan told CBS SF Bay Area news, “He was helping us to dismantle the Asian gang, which came into Chinatown as well as the East Lake area doing extortion.” The news has many wondering if Hu took bribes when he was working as an Oakland police officer.