A simple shoplifting offence led to a hunt for one of the 20th century's most evil sex killers. His accomplice swallowed cyanide but Ng was forced to confess.

Charles Chitat Ng (pronounced Cheetah Ing) was convicted in 1998 of the brutal slaying of over eleven people, including two babies, in a serial killing spree that was responsible for twenty-five deaths. Together with his accomplice, fellow Marine, Leonard Lake, the two men carried out some of the most brutal and sadistic crimes in American history.

Ng was brought up in an affluent family home in Hong Kong. There is little evidence to support anything that may have damaged him emotionally other than that he had a ruthlessly strict father. Ng took to anti-social activity and petty crime at an early age, resulting in him being expelled from several schools. At one stage his father sent him to a boarding school in Yorkshire, England.

A brief return to Hong Kong at eighteen saw him obtaining a student visa to study in the US, but shortly after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident and charged. Later he joined the Marines and lied about his place of birth in order to be accepted. Even in the Marines his fellow comrades nicknamed him ‘Bruce Lee’ and kept a wide berth from him. Ng’s military career ended abruptly when he was caught with three other men stealing weapons from a base in Hawaii. He was arrested and incarcerated, but escaped when it is believed he met up with Leonard Lake in California. Ng moved in with Lake and his girlfriend Claralyn Balasz.

Lake was fifteen years older than Ng and obsessed with everything military and in particular weapons. Whether or not Ng shared Lake’s misogyny, believing that women were men’s ‘property’ or was convinced that an imminent nuclear war going to take place is unknown. However, they both shared a passion for illegal firearms which eventually brought about their arrest and incarceration.

Certainly Lake was a disturbed, anti-social creature having developed an obsession with pornography at a young age and in particular a fetish for S&M, bondage and a sexually driven desire to enslave women. He served non-combatant duty in Da Nang, Vietnam as a radar operator, but was given a medical discharge in 1971 after two years of psychiatric treatment. When Charles Ng eventually left Leavenworth prison in June 1984 he moved into the Wilseyville Cabin with Lake. The latter’s first wife had divorced him when she discovered he had filmed bondage scenes involving handcuffs, leather straps and shackles with women other than herself. It is believed that Lake’s first victim was his brother, Donald, who went missing after he failed to return from a visit with Leonard in San Bruno in July 1983.