Monday, June 18, 2018

Detective Chang Apana - Hawaii's First Action Hero

Detective Chang Apana was really Hawaii's first action hero.  He once arrested forty suspects all by himself in Chinatown, with no backup at all.   That is an accomplishment that has never been equaled in the historical records of the Honolulu Police Department.  Here are some of Chang Apana's exploits as described in my forthcoming book "Charlie Chan's Hawaii":

"Fred Kramer, retired Captain of the Guards at Oahu Prison and Halawa Jail, had some interesting reminiscences about Detective Chang Apana.  Kramer actually saw Apana in action leaping from roof to roof in Chinatown, like a human fly. In appearance, Kramer recalls, 'Apana looked so frail that one slap could break him apart.' "

"Apana, though fragile in appearance, was in reality a very tough man.  Once while attempting to raid a gambling game, he was hurled from a second story window, but like the proverbial cat, he landed miraculously, on his feet unhurt.  Another time when arresting a dangerous Filipino suspect, he was slashed across the stomach with a knife. Again he emerged unscathed as the knife landed on a broad belt that he was wearing."

"Apana had another close brush with death during the arrest of a prison escapee. He was assigned with Chief of Detectives Arthur McDuffie, and Assistant Chief John Kellett to capture a Korean, who had broken out of jail, and who was known to be a desperate character when cornered.

They finally located their quarry, hiding under a house. When he was ordered to come out the suspect replied with a fusillade of shots, one of the shots boring the palm of Kellett's hand.  More shots followed that narrowly missed hitting McDuffie and Apana.  In a lull between the shots being exchanged between the escaped felon and the officers, Apana sneaked around the end of the house, while the other two officers held the fugitive at bay.  In the twinkling of an eye, Apana pounced on the escaped prisoner.  He was in the midst of life and death struggle when the other two officers came to his rescue.  At the end of this ordeal, Apana was in such bad shape, that he had to be taken to the hospital for a week to recuperate."

Please click on video widget below to watch "The Legend Of Chang Apana" that was produced by Jon Brekke, for Oceanic Creative Services.
It is the pilot for a projected TV series that hopefully will be in production soon.  Unfortunately, though,  they got Detective Chang Apana's badge number wrong.  It's supposed to be badge number 100, not badge number 352.  When the series finally gets going they should have technical advisers on hand to catch mistakes of this kind.  The creators of "The Legend Of Chang Apana", have put together incredible graphics, along with a script that has a smooth contemporary feel to it, to tell the exciting story of Detective Chang Apana.  It stars Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa as Chang Apana.  This movie is hip, slick, intelligent, and very now!  My congratulations go out to the makers of "The Legend Of Chang Apana", for doing such an outstanding job!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Complete Interview With Detective Joe Lum

 HPD Officers Slain In The Line Of Duty, Abraham E. Mahiko (left) and Andrew R. Morales (right)

Detective Joe Lum Escorting Alfred Tai Into Court In 1963

On April 21, 1982, I interviewed retired Detective Joe Lum, at his beautiful home located on Wilhelmina Rise, above Kaimuki, on the island of Oahu. He was a terrific interview! Besides being well spoken, detective Lum was a very, very, warm person. He was born in Kohala, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, and joined the Honolulu Police Department in 1936.

Detective Lum was the lead investigator on the case of the two murdered Honolulu police officers, Abraham E. Mahiko, and Andrew R. Morales, who were massacred in Kakaako, on December 16, 1963. This was a very tragic case, and Detective Lum spoke at length about it and presented meticulous details about the subsequent investigation, and apprehension of the culprits who committed these heinous crimes. This case bothered him, and I knew that he felt compelled to speak out about it. During that part of the interview, I shut up and let him speak freely. Even though I recorded all of this over 36 years ago, my recent revisiting of the audio tape has haunted me, and some how, I knew that I must eventually share the complete interview with everyone.  This information can not be lost, as it's an important historical document. The deaths of those two police officers, marked a dark day for the Honolulu Police Department. Retired Detective Joe Lum passed away on May 13, 1984.   As fate would have it, within hours of my posting of an excerpt from the Detective Joe Lum interview, I received an email from one of the daughters of the slain Honolulu police officers (Abraham E. Mahiko and Andrew R. Morales) .  She was doing a Google search on her father's name.  That is something that she does from time-to-time, and bingo, my blog post about her father popped up.  Even after all those years, she still had unanswered questions about her father's untimely death while serving in the line of duty.  Her mother was pregnant with her when her father was slain, and because of this, throughout the years, his death has haunted her. She requested a copy of the complete interview.  I was reluctant to give it to her, as it was very, very graphic in its detail.  I told her about my concerns, but she insisted, despite my apprehensions and misgivings, that she needed to have a copy.  The wives of both officers, incidentally, were pregnant at the time of the murders.  Well, I know that I am an old fool, but I wept when I was editing the interview.  I wept for the slain officers and their families.  This recording has important life lessons for all of us.  In the photo above, Detective Lum is shown escorting Alfred Tai, one of the murderers of the slain officers, to court in 1963.  Tai was paroled in 2014
at the age of 72, after serving 51 years in prison.  Kenneth Lono, the other shooter, died while incarcerated in 2003.  Please click on the video widget below to listen to the complete Detective Joe Lum interview.  Safe journeys to all the fans of Charlie Chan's Hawaii, wherever you may be.