Profile of Sadistic Killer and Rapist Charles Ng

One of the Most Evil Crimes Committed in U.S. History

Charles Ng
Mug Shot

Charles Ng is a serial killer who teamed up with serial killer Leonard Lake in the 1980s. They rented a remote cabin on a ranch near Wilseyville, California. There they built a bunker where women were imprisoned and used as sex slaves, while their husbands and children were tortured and murdered. When their murder spree came to an end, the police were able to connect Ng to 12 murders, but they suspected that the real number of victims was closer to 25.

Charles Ng's Childhood Years

Charles Chi-tat Ng was born in Hong Kong on December 24, 1960, to Kenneth Ng and Oi Ping. Charles was the youngest child of three and the only boy. His parents were thrilled that their last child turned out to be a boy, and they showered him with attention.

Kenneth was a strict disciplinarian and he kept a sharp eye on his only son. He was constantly reminding Charles that a good education was his ticket to success and a happy life. But Charles was more interest in learning martial arts so that he could follow in the footsteps of his real hero, Bruce Lee.

Getting children into a good parochial school in Hong Kong was a difficult task. There were only so many seats, and those were reserved for the children of wealthy professionals. But Kenneth was tenacious and he managed to get all of his children accepted.

Charles would be attending St. Joseph's and Kenneth expected him to act respectfully by doing all of his assignments, studying hard, and excelling in his classes.

But Charles proved to be a lazy student and it showed with the low grades that he received.

Kenneth found his sons attitude unacceptable and he would get so angry at Charles that he would beat him with a cane.

Acting Out

At the age 10 Charles Ng became rebellious and destructive. He was caught stealing a picture from the home of one of his few friends.

He disliked Western children and would beat them up when their paths crossed. But when he started a fire in one of the classrooms after fooling around with chemicals that were off limits to the students, the school administrator made the decision to expel him.

Kenneth could not accept that his son was such a failure. He made arrangements to send him to a boarding school in England where his brother was employed as a teacher. 

Not long after his arrival, Ng was caught stealing from a classmate. Then he was caught shoplifting from a local store. Ng was expelled from the school and sent back to Hong Kong.

Ng Comes to the United States:

At the age of 18 Ng obtained a U.S. student visa and attended Notre Dame College in California. After one semester, he dropped out and hung around until October 1979, when he was convicted in a hit-and- run automobile offense and ordered to pay restitution. 

Instead of paying, Ng opted to join the Marines and lied on his enlistment application by putting he was a U.S. citizen and his birthplace was Bloomington, Indiana. The military authorities believed it and enlisted him.

A Military Career Built on Lies

After a year in the Marines, Ng had become a lance corporal but his career was cut short after a 1981 incident involving the theft of weapons stolen from an armory at the Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station in Hawaii.

Ng, along with three other soldiers, stole a range of weapons including two M-16 assault rifles and three grenade launchers. Ng fled before being arrested, but was caught by military police a month later and locked up in a Marine jail in Hawaii to await trial.

Immediately after his incarceration, Ng managed to escape from jail and he fled to California. It was there that he met up with Leonard Lake and Lake's wife, Claralyn Balasz. The three became roommates until their arrest by the FBI on weapons charges. 

Ng was convicted and sent to Leavenworth Prison where he served three years. Lake made bail and went into hiding in a remote cabin owned by his wife's parents in Wilseyville, California, located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Ng and Lake Reunite and Their Ghastly Crimes Begin

After Ng's release from prison, he reunited with Lake at the cabin.

Shortly after the reunion, the two began living out the sexually sadistic and murderous fantasies of Lake. There seemed no barriers to who the two would murder with the list including Lake's own brother, babies, husbands and wives, and friends of Lake's, all totaling seven men, three women and two babies.

Authorities believe that the number of victims murdered is much higher, with many of the dead still unidentified.

Ng's Inept Shoplifting Skills Surface Again

Ng's inability to shoplift ended the pair's torturous murder spree. Ng and Lake stopped at a lumberyard to get a replacement for a bench vise they broke when using it to torture their victims

An employee called the police after seeing Ng shoplift a vise and place it into his car. Realizing he had been seen he took off. Lake tried to convince the police it was all a misunderstanding, but when one of the officers looked in the trunk of Lake's car he spotted a .22 revolver and a silencer.

One of the officers did a check on the 1980 Honda Prelude that Lake was driving and the registration number matched to a Buick registered in the name of Lonnie Bond. Lake produced his driver's license, and it showed he was a 26-year-old named Robin Stapley. Wright was suspicious since Lake looked considerably older than 26. He ran a check on the serial number from the gun, and it came back as being owned by Stapley. Lake was arrested for owning an illegal gun.

The End of Leonard Lake

Lake sat handcuffed in a room at the police station. When informed that the Honda he was driving was registered to a man who had been reported missing, Lake requested a pen and paper and a glass of water. The officer obliged him and Lake scribbled a note, told the officer his and Ng's real names, then swallowed two cyanide pills he retrieved from behind his shirt collar. He went into convulsions and was rushed to the hospital where he remained in a comatose state until he died three days later.

Ghastly Secrets Uncovered

The police began to investigate Lake, figuring his suicide could be related to a more serious crime.

They visited the cabin where Lake and Ng lived and immediately found bones in the cabin's driveway. Ng was on the run as the investigators began to uncover the gruesome crimes that took place on the property. Remnants of charred body parts, corpses, bone chips, and a variety of personal belongings, weapons and videotapes were found.

Inside the cabin's master bedroom, police uncovered various pieces of women's bloody lingerie. The four-poster bed had wires tied around each poster and restraints bolted into the floor. 

Blood was found in various places including under the mattress. Also discovered was Lake's diary where he detailed the various acts of torture, rape and murder that he and Ng had performed on their victims in what he referred to as, 'Operation Miranda.'

Operation Miranda

Operation Miranda was a confusing fantasy that Lake created. It centered on the end of the world and his need to dominate women who would eventually become his sexual slaves. Ng became a partner to his fantasy and the two began trying to turn it into some kind of demented and sick reality.

On the property, investigators found a bunker that was partially built into a hillside. Inside the bunker were three rooms, two that were hidden. The first hidden room contained various tools and a sign with the words "The Miranda" hanging on the wall. The second hidden room was a 3x7 cell with a bed, chemical commode, table, one-way mirror, constraints, no light, and was wired for sound. The room was designed so that whoever was in the room could be watched and heard from the outer room.

On videotapes found by police, two women at separate times were shown bound, taunted with knives by Ng, and threatened by Lake with death if they failed to concede to being sexual slaves. One woman was forced to strip and then she was raped. 

The other woman had her clothing cut away by Ng. She begged for information about her baby, but eventually gave in to the pair's demands after they threatened her life and the life of her child if she did not cooperate. Complete details of what the tapes revealed to the investigators was never disclosed.

Ng Changes His Identity to Mike Komoto

As investigators uncovered the grisly crime scene at the bunker, Charles Ng was on the run. Investigators learned from Leonard Lake's ex-wife, Claralyn Balasz, that Ng contacted her shortly after running from the lumberyard. She met with him and agreed to drive him to his apartment for clothing and to pick up a paycheck. She said he was carrying a gun, ammunition, two fake I.D.'s in the name of Mike Komoto and that she let him off at the San Francisco airport, but did not know where he was going.

Busted On Shoplifting In Canada

Ng's movement was traced from San Francisco to Chicago to Detroit and then into Canada. The investigation uncovered enough evidence to charge Ng with 12 counts of murder. Ng managed to avoid authorities for over a month, but his poor shoplifting abilities landed him in jail in Calvary after he fought with the arresting police and shot one of them in the hand. Ng was in a Canadian jail, charged with robbery, attempted robbery, possession of a firearm and attempted murder.

U.S. authorities became aware of Ng's arrest, but because Canada had abolished the death penalty, extradition of Ng to the U.S. was refused. U.S. authorities were permitted to interview Ng in Canada at which time Ng blamed Lake for most of the killings at the bunker but admitted to being involved in the disposal of the bodies. His trial for the robbery and assault charges in Canada resulted in a sentence of four-and-a-half years, which he spent learning about U.S. laws.

Cartoons Drawn By Ng Tell All

Ng also entertained himself by drawing cartoons depicting murder scenes, some that contained details of killings that replicated those that went on at Wilseyville that only someone involved in the murders would have known. One other factor that sealed little doubt of Ng's involvement in the pair's killing spree was one witness who Ng had left for dead, but survived. The witness identified Ng as the man who attempted to kill him, rather than Lake.

Ng Is Extradited To The U.S.

After a six-year battle between the U.S. Justice Department and Canada, Charles Ng was extradited to the U.S. on Sept. 26, 1991, to face trial on 12 murder charges. Ng, familiar with American laws, worked relentlessly to delay his trial. Ultimately, Ng's case became one of the most costly cases in U.S. history, costing taxpayers an estimated $6.6 million for the extradition efforts alone.

Ng Begins To Play With The U.S. Legal System

When Ng reached the U.S. he and his team of lawyers began to manipulate the legal system with endless delay tactics that included formal complaints about receiving bad food and bad treatment. Ng also filed a $1 million malpractice suit against lawyers he had dismissed at various times during his pre-trial hearings. Ng also wanted his trial to be moved to Orange County, a motion that would be presented to California Supreme Court at least five times before it was upheld.

Ng's Trial Finally Begins

In October 1998, after 13 years of various delays and $10 million in costs, the trial of Charles Chitat Ng began. His defense team presented Ng as being an unwilling participant and was forced to take part in Lake's sadistic murder spree. Because of the video's presented by the prosecutors showing Ng forcing two women to engage in sex after threatening them with knives, the defense admitted that Ng 'merely' participate in the sexual offenses.

Ng insisted on taking the stand, which allowed prosecutors to submit more evidence that helped define Ng's role in all aspects of the ghoulish crimes that went on in the bunker, including murder. One significant piece of evidence presented were pictures of Ng standing in his cell with the telling cartoons he had sketched of the victims hanging on the wall behind him.

A Fast Decision From The Jury

After years of delays, several tons of paperwork, millions of dollars, and many of the victims' loved ones deceased, the trial of Charles Ng ended. The jury deliberated for a few hours and returned with a verdict of guilty of the murder of six men, three women, and two babies. The jury recommended the death penalty, a sentence that trial Judge Ryan imposed.

The List of Known Victims

Other pieces of bone found on the property indicated that over 25 other people were killed by Lake and Ng. Investigators suspect that many were homeless and recruited to the property to help build the bunker, then killed.

  • Kathleen Allen and her boyfriend, Michael Carroll: Investigators believe that Kathleen was lured to the cabin when Lake told her that Michael had been shot. Kathleen was one of the two women who appeared on the video as Lake and Ng mentally and physically tortured her, eventually raping and killing her. Michael was a suspected drug dealer who at one time was a cellmate of Ng's at Leavenworth.
  • Brenda O'Connor, Lonnie Bond and baby Lonnie Jr.: Brenda and her common-law husband, Lonnie, were next door neighbors of Leonard Lake. Brenda was shown on the video begging for knowledge of her baby's welfare while the two taunted her and threatened her and the life of her baby if she failed to cooperate with their sexual demands. It is believed that at the time the video was made, Lonnie and Lonnie Jr. had already been killed.
  • Harvey Dubs, Deborah Dubs and baby Sean Dubs: It is believed that the family was murdered after Lake answered an advertisement for camera equipment that Harvey was selling.
  • Robin Scott Stapley
  • Randy Johnson
  • Charles "The Fat Man" Gunnar, Leonard Lake's best man.
  • Donald Lake, who was Leonard's brother.
  • Paul Cosner, who was the owner of the Honda.

Charles Ng sits on death row at San Quentin prison in California. He advertises himself online as 'a dolphin caught inside a tuna net.' He continues to appeal his death sentence and it may take several years for his sentence to be carried out.

Source: "Justice Denied - The Ng Case" by Joseph Harrington and Robert Burger and "Journey into Darkness" by John E. Douglas