The Stunning Story Of The American Who Joined The Chinese Mafia

John Willis became the only white person to achieve a high status inside the Chinese mafia. A feared and respected mafia member, he would lose everything years later.

According to Vice, Willis spent the first years of his life trying to fit in. Born and raised in Dorchester, Boston, he was abandoned by his father when he was a toddler, and his mother died when he was 15 years old. He was left alone and lied his age to get a job as a bouncer, but he didn't make enough for a living. One day, he helped Woping Joe, a Chinese guy, during a fight at the club. The man gave him his phone number and said he could help — a decision that changed his life changed forever.

Willis called Woping Joe, and he became a member of the Ping On, a Chinese gang. Although they often keep outsiders away, it was easy to understand why the strong 16-year-old boy was useful to them. Initially, Willis was responsible for collecting loans and soon became a chief bodyguard for high-profile names in the gang, Daily Mail reports. He also spent a lot of time mastering Cantonese and Toisanese, not just for his work but also for dating girls. Willis was nicknamed "Bac Guai John," which translates to "White Devil John" in English.

John Willis made millions selling oxycodone

John Willis worked directly with Bai Ming, who became Ping On's most important name. Willis eventually went to prison, where he learned more about trafficking drugs and noticed it could be profitable. After he was released from prison, most of his income came from selling oxycodone. According to The Infographics Show, authorities believe he made $4 million, but he claims to have made ten times more.

The White Devil didn't try to hide that he was making a lot of money. He bought fancy cars and spent a lot of money partying, and was ultimately arrested while celebrating the birthday of his girlfriend's daughter in 2011 (via Rolling Stone). As reported by NPR, Tim Moran, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case against Willis, said during the trial: "John Willis was the man who was going to go out and find those other men and beat them up."

Willis was sentenced to 20 years in prison. His biography inspired the book "White Devil: The True Story of the First White Asian Crime Boss," which was published in 2016.