Ah Ling arrived in the Victorian colony from New York in 1882. He began his life of petty crime in Bendigo and was convicted of larceny in 1889 for stealing a shirt and trousers from Ah Hem. Ah Ling again faced larceny charges in October 1890, this time with an accomplice, Ah Kew. They lived together in a hut at the Ironbark Chinese Camp. Among the charges against them was the theft of a quantity of rice, some opium, and a naturalisation paper from the hut of Joseph Ah You in Golden Square in Bendigo. Between 1890 and 1910, Ah Ling received at least another 12 convictions for crimes committed in Melbourne and its tough inner suburbs. His final conviction in 1910 declared Ah Ling to be an ‘habitual criminal’. Prison records noted that Ah Ling was married. However, the whereabouts of his family during all the time he spent in and out of prison is not known.