rich bar

“I went over and grabbed the guy but he broke away and started running. I chased him around all through the cars in that parking lot. I finally wrestled him to the ground and got the cuffs on. Then I shook him. I was so angry. I got right up in his face. I was screaming, ‘That was an eighty year old man. Why would you hurt him?’ It’s not good to get emotional when you’re a cop and shaking him was wrong. But when you see a young, strong guy beating up an old man, it’s hard to control yourself. I don’t know if the older man recovered, but even if he did, he’ll never be the same. He’ll always be afraid it’s going to happen again.” —Kai Wong 

Kai Wong’s story is one of passion and commitment. His first week out of the Academy, Kai made a formal request to walk a beat alone in a neighborhood rife with drugs, prostitution, guns, car thefts, larcenies, assaults and armed robberies. I’m a Bronx boy,” he says. “I grew up in a tough neighborhood. There were a lot of bad kids and I learned to hold my own with them. They don’t scare me.”

Kai was loved by the people in the neighborhoods where he patrolled. When Wong was on the street, crime went down and they felt safe.

In a profession widespread with legends, Kai Wong was the real deal. No matter what threat he was facing, he never backed down and he rarely called for back up. He had a sixth sense about what trouble might be brewing. When a child was the victim, he took special offense. He undertook a relentless search for an armed assailant who pistol-whipped a nun at a school for the blind. When he tried to mediate a domestic dispute, he was attacked by both husband and wife, an incident that left him with three ruptured disks in his neck and a lifetime of pain. With less than a week on the job he went to his sergeant and asked to walk a beat, alone, in the Boston Road area of the Bronx. The sergeant agreed to give it a try. It was a neighborhood rife with drugs, prostitution, guns, car thefts, larcenies, assaults and armed robberies. Outnumbered and outgunned, Officer Wong patrolled by himself during the most dangerous part of the day.

Within a week arrests were up. Wong was bringing them in for dealing drugs, stealing cars, robbing people with a weapon or knife and carrying a gun without a permit. He was alone and he was mobile. Other cops assigned to the same precinct during those years remember the familiar sight of Kai Wong crouched up on a rooftop watching the street below, keeping his eye out for trouble. He had a special passion for arresting drug dealers. “Where there’s drugs, there’s guns,” he said.

One of his supervisors noted that Kai was the kind of cop who never backed down. The supervisor said, “Maybe it’s his expertise in martial arts, maybe it’s the big snake tattooed on his arm or maybe it was because he would go right up these mopes on the street, get in their face and say, ‘Hey, it’s just you and me.’ Whatever it is, the bad guys know he means business and that was very good news for all the good people in the neighborhood.”