Ah Cheong arrived in Victoria in 1865. Twenty-four years later, at age 50, he was sentenced to nine months imprisonment for vagrancy. He was also tried for the theft of four copper plates containing gold, stolen from the crushing mill at Harrietville.A judge’s notebook includes testimony given at Ah Cheong’s trial by miner Robert Corcoran. Early on 11 September 1889, the day the plates disappeared, Corcoran saw Ah Cheong at the mine. Corcoran thought this odd because he had not seen a Chinese man there for many years. ‘To the best of my belief [the] prisoner is the man. […] I saw him before he saw me,’ Corcoran said. ‘When he saw me he put his hand over his face turned around and went away by the road he had come, into the bush.’Chinese trial witnesses said they had known Ah Cheong for 20 years. Many of these witnesses said they worked as market gardeners. Ah Cheong himself grew tobacco and had worked as a miner.The conviction for this theft added three years to his sentence for vagrancy.