George Washington Appo was born in New York on July 4, 1858, the son of a Chinese father and an Irish mother. He started out as a child pickpocket in the Five Points, graduated to the confidence game, and became an opium addict, a witness against police corruption and a celebrity criminal who played himself on stage. Through it all, Appo said that he took pride in having been "a Good Fellow in the eyes and estimation of the underworld . . . a nervy crook, a money getter and spender" who understood the risks he ran and was willing to accept the consequences if he got caught. He got caught a lot. Put on trial at least nine times, he served 10 years in four prisons. He was also brutalized by his jailers, half-blinded, stabbed once and shot twice but somehow survived until 1930,

— A crook who knew he was a crook  

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