John Willis is an anomaly. He made national news in 2013 because he's a white, Dorchester native who was taken in by a Chinese family in Boston. He managed to learn Chinese and rise through the ranks of the complicated gang network in Boston's Chinatown.
"He was not officially a member, if you will," Wang said. "Ultimately, to be part of the specifically Ping On gang, you had to be Chinese. Or, at least of Asian descent. There are certain lines I guess you can’t cross.”
John Willis' story is the subject of Bob Halloran's new book, "White Devil: The True Story of the First White Asian Crime Boss."
- "Willis emerged as an unlikely white member of one of Boston’s Chinatown Asian gangs after joining a Chinese family and learning to speak Cantonese as a child."
- "Willis was the most notorious gangster in Asian organized crime — and, even more remarkably, the first white man to rise so high in this insular underworld. He was once just another hockey-playing Catholic kid in this working-class Boston neighborhood. But now they knew him here as Bac Guai John. White Devil."
This segment aired on January 11, 2016.