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Tiles clacked at the mah-jongg tables in the main hall of the Hop Sing Tong, the slow cadence of a typical afternoon at one of Los Angeles’ oldest institutions.

The quiet broke when an intruder entered the Chinatown building and started to argue with a man in his 60s playing the game at a felt-covered table. The suspect, Vinh Quok Dao, 37, demanded that one of the men give him $400 to pay for vehicle impound fees, police said. When the man refused, Dao pulled a 6-inch knife  and attacked him and another man who tried to defend him, slashing both fatally in the neck, law enforcement sources said.

One of the victims was the president of the tong, a Chinese fraternal organization. Dao was arrested Friday afternoon in Rosemead.

Los Angeles police detectives are now wrestling with a case that conjures memories of the violence wrought by tongs in the past.

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