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ifen Lo was one of five children born into a struggling family in Taiwan. By the time Pifen reached her teen years her parents Tiung-fa and Suching-Mei Chiu could no longer afford to raise her. They sent her to live with a godmother who kept tight rein on Pifen, letting her out of the house only to run errands. She was 16 when she met Ming Ching Jin, a boy in the neighborhood. Before long he was sneaking into the house to see her. Two years later, the couple married at the age of 18.
As a card player the smooth-talking, baby-faced Jin developed a knack for reading cards by the irregularities on their backs.
     Ming's family was more prosperous than Pifen's. His father had bought a motel in Los Angeles and was personally running it. Upon his death, Jin and Lo moved to Los Angeles to live and work in the motel. By then they had been married ten years and had a three-year-old son named Sean.
     As a card player the smooth-talking, baby-faced Jin developed a knack for reading cards by the irregularities on their backs. A year after coming to the U.S. he opened and ran what may have been either a dealer's school or an unlicensed casino. He seems to have been generally well-liked for his impulsive generosity and was friendly with a wide circle of acquaintences, former students and employees.

The Pomona Branch of the Los Angeles County Superior Court where Trammell conducted the trial of the prosecution against Ming Ching Jin and Pifen Lo.

     In 1990 Jin divorced Lo. This seems to have been calculated to secure her a quick citizenship through marriage with a U.S. citizen. The marriage was brief. After that Jin and Lo resumed living together but without marrying again.
     In late 1993 Jin and his family moved briefly to San Jose. Less than a year later they returned to Southern California and rented a house on the 17900 block of Surnrise Drive in Rowland Heights, a quiet, hilly newer neighborhood of pastel stucco homes. Jin and Pifen lived with son Sean, their twin daughters and a pretty 31-year-old Chinese immigrant named Yu Ching Chu. Jin had hired Chu to care for his pre-school twin daughters and she slept in their room. Jin also hired a young male Chinese immigrant named Wei Xu to chauffeur him around in his 1994 Mercedes-Benz. The family also owned a 1995 Plymouth Minivan. Both were bought with cash, according to an investigator's declaration. Page 3

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