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Infamous Chinatown gang leader accused of trying to buy secret stake in NYC-owned mall: letter

A notorious Chinatown gangster with convictions for murder and extortion is trying to secretly buy a stake in the city-owned East Broadway Mall in lower Manhattan, according to a letter sent to the city Law Department and currently under review by the Adams administration.

The letter claims the potential investor is Guo Liang Chi — and is the same man who pleaded guilty to five murders three decades ago in connection to his leadership role in the feared Fuk Ching gang. According to news reports from the time, he ordered the murder of an insubordinate gang member, which resulted in the death of two men.

His connection to the business deal in Chinatown remains murky, but the letter — which was obtained by the Daily News — claims that it stems from the mall’s current financial difficulties and, in part, from the fallout of a federal investigation involving key Adams aide Winnie Greco, who is connected to several potential investors in the mall.

Mayor Eric Adams' Director of Asian Affairs, Winnie Greco, is pictured at a Lunar New Year Celebration at Gracie Mansion on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. (Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office)
Mayor Eric Adams’ Director of Asian Affairs, Winnie Greco, is pictured at a Lunar New Year Celebration at Gracie Mansion on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. (Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office)

Chinatown’s East Broadway Mall has been in a state of flux since Terry Chan, the mall’s current lease operator, declared bankruptcy in 2019 after struggling to pay off his mortgage as the number of businesses in the building paying rent dwindled.

Amid Chan’s bankruptcy proceedings, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which manages the city-owned building, has started the lengthy process of transferring the lease over to a new operator, Broadway East Group LLC, an entity composed of investors who, as first reported last year by Documented NY, maintain ties to Greco.

But in a previously unknown wrinkle, most of the BEG investors pulled out of the venture earlier this year, according to the letter sent late last month to the city Law Department by Chan’s attorney, Sarah Keenan.

The letter says their exit from the deal came after the FBI raided Greco’s Bronx homes in February. The scope of the investigation remains unclear, but reportedly include the feds scrutinizing trips that she and the mayor took to China that were allegedly bankrolled by Beijing’s government. Neither Adams nor Greco have been accused of any wrongdoing.

In the old investors’ place, a new group of financiers has stepped in to front the cash for the BEG.

Among them is Guo, who’s better known to some by his nickname Ah Kay and was the head of Fuk Ching, a notoriously violent Fujianese Chinatown gang, according to the letter from Chan’s attorney and news reports from the 1990s and 2000s.

Guo is perhaps best known for his involvement in the Golden Venture, a boat that smuggled nearly 300 undocumented immigrants to the U.S. from China in the 1990s. After a months-long journey, the boat ran aground off Rockaway Beach on June 6, 1993, forcing the dozens of immigrants onboard to try to swim ashore. Nearly a dozen men drowned in the waters off Queens.

Guo admitted to his involvement in the tragedy in 1995, as reported in The News at the time.

Prior to that, he was arrested in August 1993 in Hong Kong, extradited to the U.S. a year later and sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to five murders, according to news reports. His initial 20-year sentence was reduced to 12 years after cutting a cooperation deal with the FBI in which he provided information about others involved in the Golden Venture tragedy.

At the time, Guo was described by one prosecutor as “an incredibly violent man with zero regard for human life.” He was known as a “snakehead,” a term used to identify Chinese gang members involved in human trafficking.

When asked about Guo’s purported involvement in the BEG, Amaris Cockfield, a spokeswoman for Adams, said his administration is “looking into” it.

“Our administration holds ourselves to the highest ethical standards,” she said. “As soon as this information was brought to our attention, we immediately began looking into the concerns raised.”

Keenan, the attorney for Chan, the current East Broadway Mall operator, wrote in the letter that Guo is trying to disguise his potential stake in the mall by making it seem as if it’s his son who’s making the investment.

A business owner at the mall was recently approached by Guo, who brought along his son for the meeting, according to the letter from Keenan.

“His son will be the person who will oversee the project and daily operation of the building,” the letter says Guo informed the business owner. “[The business owner] learned that Guo Liang Chi, in order to insure that his background does not jeopardize the deal, is seeking a puppet investor to disguise his involvement, with a promise to reimburse them after closing.”

The business owner — who is named in the letter — confirmed Keenan’s account of his interaction with Guo to The News on condition that his identity not be disclosed for fear of retribution from Guo.

Guo could not be reached for comment. A man who picked up the phone at the Ansu Funeral Home in Chinatown confirmed that he maintains an ownership stake there, but refused to pass along a message to him.

“I never see this guy,” said the man, who declined to provide his own name. “He’s very hands off.”


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