Created By: SFU
Wong’s Benevolent Society acts as a marker for the incredibly controversial Janet smith murder case. On 26 July 1924 Janet Smith, a Scottish nursemaid, was found dead with a bullet in her head. All conditions surrounding her murder were suspicious: the fact that it was called in by Wong Foon Sign, a Chinese houseboy infatuated with Smith, the fact that the there was no bullet, blood, or brain tissue on the wall, the fact that the event was quickly categorized as a suicide, resulting in the hasty embalming of her corpse.
Smith’s family did not take this lightly, quickly contacting the newly formed United Council of Scottish Societies, who in turn pressed the provincial government to reopen the file. Upon reopening the death was reclassified as a murder, and immediate suspicion fell upon Wong. Even though nothing could be confirmed, months later Wong was kidnapped, held captive, and tortured with the hope that he would confess. Wong never confessed and was released six weeks later.
To this day the case is still unsolved and acts as a rather cold reminder of some of the race tensions present in a cultural mosaic like Vancouver. For, even though the kidnappers were initially masked they later revealed themselves to be police commissioners, a chief of police, a detective sergeant, and three prominent officials in the cities Scottish societies.
Kerwin, Scott. “Smith, Janet Kennedy.” Dictoinary of Canadian Biogrpahy, vol.15. University of Toronto. 2005. bibliographi.ca Web. June 2017.
“Murder Mystery, Janet Smith.” Retrived from: https://vancouverpolicemuseum.ca/murder-mystery-intrigue-speaker-series-review-janet-smith/
This point of interest is part of the tour: Scotland Walks Strathcona