Real Name: Jian Fang
Nicknames: Jim Fang
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: December 18, 1993
Details: Forty-two-year-old Jian Fang was a successful San Francisco businessman who owned two noodle factories. He supplied the noodles to various restaurants in the area. He often visited his customers and collected the money from them. Shortly after midnight on December 18, 1993, he offered a ride to his supervisor, Mrs. Yee Sung. He never noticed the back window of his van was broken out. After driving a block, they were both accosted by two young men speaking perfect Cantonese. The men kept demanding to have "the money". Mrs. Yee was struck on the side of the head with a gun and was told not to turn around. They tore apart the van looking for something, but when Jian fought back, they stabbed him to directly through the heart. The entire ordeal lasted thirty minutes, which is longer than most normal robberies. Before fleeing, the assailants threatened to kill Mrs. Yee if she went to get help. She waited almost two hours before leaving and calling the police.
There were no fingerprints, but the murder weapon, a cheap kitchen knife, was found. The knife was worn, as if it had been washed several times. A BB gun was also recovered. Some investigators believed that the culprits were looking for the cash usually collected from Jian's customers, while one informant suggested that Jian was a gambler and that his murder was a form of retaliation rather than a random petty crime.
Investigators had few leads in the case, so they decided to put a "fresh set of eyes" on the case. In December of 1994, a college class created by Brooke Stuart named "Murder We Solve" began investigating the case in hopes of finding a resolution. Investigator Prentice Sanders described the case to the students. After learning about the case, the students asked several interesting questions. One wondered why the assailants would use such a cheap, worn out knife to commit a robbery/murder. Another asked if the type of knife was used by any of Jian's clients. Yet another student asked about his bank records, if they showed any large transactions prior to his death.
Suspects: The assailants were described as two young Asian males who spoke perfect Cantonese. They carried a cheap, worn out kitchen knife and a BB gun. They have never been identified.
An informant claimed that Jian was involved in gambling and that his murder was related to a gambling debt. The informant suggested that he was both a better and book-maker. The informant claimed that on the day of his death, Jian had collected $25,000 in cash. A second informant also claimed that the murder was related to illicit betting. However, none of this information could be corroborated. A student did suggest that he was killed by someone who had lost their money in a bet.
One student suggested that the killers knew that Jian was collecting a large sum of money (either from a bet or through his work) and were disappointed that there was none. They did not intend to kill him until a struggle ensued.
Another student suggested that Mrs. Yee may have been involved in the murder or at least knew more than what she said. They question why she was not injured and why she was not able to give much of a description of the assailants. They also question why she took over two hours to even leave the van.
Yet another student questioned a friend of hers who had lived in Chinatown for years. The friend told her about a network of Vietnamese gangs that worked in Chinatown. The gang members are usually well-versed in Cantonese. The student suggested that Jian may have been murdered by two of these Vietnamese gang members. They may have worked in one of the restaurants and noticed that he collected large amounts of money from his customers.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the March 3, 1995 episode.