Cold Case: Businessman murdered in robbery gone bad - KPTV - FOX 12

Cold Case: Businessman murdered in robbery gone bad

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A group of friends gathered for a game of cards in Portland's Old Town neighborhood in September 1995, but one of them ended up dead, police said.

"The victim's name was Bing Wun Joe. And he was a 61-year-old Chinese-American man," said Mike Stahlman, the retired Portland homicide detective now reviewing the case.

Stahlman said Joe was a successful restaurant owner from St. Helens.  Portland police cold case investigators said he was a regular patron of the Bing Kung Tong -- a Chinese social club at 20 Northwest Fourth Street.

It was about 1:20 a.m., police said, eight people were playing pinnacle and pai gow, a Chinese poker game, when four young men arrived at the door of the club.

Investigators said someone in the club first buzzed in two young men -- the patron either recognized them or thought they weren't a threat.  The two men started playing cards. A short time later, two more men arrived with backpacks.

"And as soon as they got in, the second two men pulled guns out of the backpack. The other two men, who were already in there, joined them,"  Stahlman said.  "They ordered all of the patrons onto the floor and said they were going to rob them.  The witnesses said that Mr. Joe made kind of an innocuous comment like,  'Go ahead and take my money,' or something, not arguing, not fighting, not doing anything. Just, 'Leave me alone.' And one of them just shot him, according to the witnesses."

Investigators said Joe died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Police gave FOX 12 exclusive access to evidence.  These crime scene photos show the backpack and distinctive clothing that police said the suspects dropped as they ran out of the club.

Witnesses said the suspects were Asian, likely Vietnamese, all about 5' 4" to 5' 8" and 135 to 150 pounds.

Despite the good descriptions and evidence left behind, no arrests have been made.  Interpreters have been used to talk to witnesses, but investigators said immigrant communities are notoriously tight-lipped.

They still insist someone has information that could solve the case.

"With four suspects, you can assume that there are a number of people out there who know. That among those four people, they have talked," Stahlman said.  "They rationalize it. 'I'm a good person. I know what my motives were. I didn't mean for it to happen. What good would it do to come forward now?'"

If you have any information, call Crimestoppers at 503-823-HELP (4357).

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