Term used, primarily by US immigration officials in informal settings, to describe an illegal immigrant of any country. Origins are unknown, but definitely predate the use of metal flashlights, contrary to the most used description of origin. It's probable that the origin is related to Chinese immigration, as the first law to restrict immigration from a particular country was enacted in 1882. It's said that many of the illegal immigrants made their way to the US via the Gulf of Tonkin area of what is now Vietnam. It's also possible that the term is related to the Chinese "tong" mob. The word should be considered only as derogatory as the phrase "illegal alien" as it does not refer to race or even nationality, only to one's immigration status in the United States.
The US Border Patrol Agent caught 3 Honduran tonks, 18 Mexican tonks and a Korean tonk when they tried to sneak across the border this morning.
by Dave February 26, 2005
A reference used on internet discussion forums, it describes the sound made by an over zealous or Nazi like moderator when he strikes the 'ban' key to silence another forum member.
For example: "Damn!!!, it looks like BK just TONKED another member..."
by ArizonaFreedomRider January 12, 2005