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Colonial Cases

Shanghai Police Court, 1871

[minor crimes]

Shanghai Police Court records

Police Court, Shanghai
Source: The North-China Herald, 26 May 1871



May 20th, 1871.

Before G. JAMIESON, Esq.


Drunk and incapable.

Defendant was one of three men sent to jail lately for loitering under suspicious circumstances about the Astor house, and had only been two days liberated.'

His Worship said he should discharge him now, but of brought up again would deport him.




Tsang-ting-dong, complainant, said - I was shroff to defendant.  On the 15th I was walking on the landing place, when defendant called me in and asked me how much wages were due to me.  I said no wages were due because it was not the time to pay them.  Defendant told me to consider and look over my accounts, and I found there were 27 days up to the 15th.  Defendant said this was not the 15th but the 13th, and when I told him the amount got in a rage, shook his fist and said I was telling stories.  Afterwards the clerk went to make out my bill and defendant found fault with it.  When I asked him the reason he was so angry to-day though he had not found any fault with me for 18 months, he replied that all my accounts were false and began to beat me, first slapping me on the face and as I tried to get away beating me all over the body.

Defendant denied the truth of complainant's statement.  Complainant was intoxicated and told the bookkeeper that the latter had too much samshoo and could not take down his accounts properly, for which insulting remark defendant slapped him on the side of the head.

A native witness said he saw defendant beating complainant and pushing him about.

Defendant had nothing further to say.  He had given complainant a slap on the side of the head because he had been very insolent in the office, but did not beat him all over the body, though he pushed him along the verandah telling him at the same time to take away his things.

Complainant had no external evidence of the alleged assault.

His Worship said defendant should pay costs.


May 22nd.

W. FOSTER, "Hector," drunk etc., fined costs.

HENRY STAKER, drunk etc., fined costs.

ANDREW SIMS, drunk and forcing a door open - fined costs.




Defendant was charged with striking two Chinamen.  The most seriously hurt, one who had received a sharp tap on the head, appeared to prosecute, and stated that about two o'clock yesterday he left his shop to buy some beans, when the defendant, who was passing, came up, seized him and called him a very bad name in Chinese.  Complainant tried to retreat into his shop, but defendant struck him with a short thick stick, and following him into the shop struck him a second blow, on the head, as he tried to shut the door odf the inner room against him.  When the defendant saw blood flowing from his head he left him.  A coloured man who was with defendant did nothing.

Defendant said he had been quietly going along with a friend, when complainant rushed out of an opium shop and up against him and his friend, at the same time swearing at them in Chinese.  Defendant asked him what he meant and complainant then rushed into a medicine shop and seized a door bolt with which he struck defendant on the head, causing a wound far more severe than that which the latter gave in return.  Defendant then made for the Police Station, but was shortly followed by complainant and a lot of people, who caught him, tore his clothes and stole his hat, and a diamond breast pin worth $25.  Found refuge in a josshouse whence he went to the station and was locked up.

YING-TSE-JONG, ands assistant in the medicine shop, substantiated complainant's story.

TSANG-KAE-FOO gave evidence similar to that of last witness, and that he himself had, buy interfering bon complainant's behalf, been also struck.

LOUIS THOLIER, sworn, said defendant invited him yesterday to go to the village by the Hongkew Creek and have some Chinese liquor.  They drank two bowls of the liquor, and were walking on when they met the complainant, whom Campbell, for no reason witness could see, began cursing in English and Chinese.  The Chinaman ran into a shop, Campbell following him up, and presently witness heard the Chinaman call out and saw him come from the shop bleeding.  Campbell came out first and tried to go away, but about 60 Chinese ran after him and surrounded him.  None of them interfered with witness.  Did not see any striking out in the road before Campbell went into the shop.

To defendant - I did not see the Chinaman rush up against you and nearly knock you off your feet, nor hear him swear at you in Chinese, and I do not know what possible reason you could have had for going after the man.

Defendant repeated his statement in defence and proceeded to harangue the Court, but

His Worship said he found the charge proven and that the assault was quite unprovoked.  On a former occasion he had told defendant that the next time he came up he would be deported.  He would now undergo a month's imprisonment and then be deported.


May 23rd.


Drunk and assaulting a police constable.

ANTONIO LUPEIH stated that at about six last night he was walking on the Broadway, when he saw a drunken man knocking at the door of the Sailors'' Home.  Some other men were there and after talking to the party one of them, Mullins, who was about the most drunk, broke away from the two others who were holding him ands struck complainant.  They all afterwards attacked him, knocked away hjis baton and ran away with his sword, which however he recovered. Three of them ran away on board and told one of the engineers, who went down to the station accompanied by two of the men.

Mullins could say nothing.  He had been drunk.  Lee said he was assisting Mullins on board when the policeman stopped them and said that they should not go to the ship.  Mullins perhaps used an oath, and while he (Lee) was holding the drunken man up, he received a blow from the baton which cut his head open.  Then the constable struck the others with the baton and they ran away, followed by the policeman with his drawn sword.  Lee got inside the dock gate where the constable followed and arrested him.  Allen gave a somewhat similar statement.

Mullins fined $5 and costs, Lee $2 and costs, the others $1 and costs.


May 25th.


His Worship, to prisoner - You are brought here on a charge of wilful murder of one Thomas Mitchenson, on board the barque "Anne."  I will now proceed to take the evidence against you.

HENRY WATKINS, sworn, repeated his former evidence, adding that the first time Williams met the mate after coming on board he did not strike him, but afterwards did so.  When Williams ran aft to the wheel he had a scuffle with the mate which lasted two or three minutes.  No one then interfered, and witness could not tell clearly what happened, but heard Williams say to the mate he was no man, and ask him would he fight.  On the mate telling him he would not, and to be quiet, Williams said, "then I'll finish you."

His Worship asked the prisoner if he had any questions to put to the witness.

Prisoner - No, I just came on board and I only recollect speaking to the mate once.  I don't known what I said or he said to me.  I only recollect that he struck me and I was not able to stand.  After that I don't know anything.  I never lifted a knife to no man living.  I don't think I did it but I don't know anything of it.  I never attempted to do the like before; and another thing, the mate was a man I liked well.

CHARLES ARMOR, sworn, stated - About 7 o'clock on Tuesday night I asked the mate for me and Williams to go on board the "Mexicana."  We got leave and went, and saw a young fellow who shipped from home before us.  We went down to the forecastle talking together, and we had some drink and songs.  Between times Williams would say, "excuse me" and would take a basin of the gin.  The basin would be about two wine glasses, but how many he drunk I don't know, I saw him drink three. About 11.20 we left the brig and got on board at 11.30, and Williams then began to make a row.  [Witness here repeated his former evidence.]  The mate came down off the poop;, to talk to Williams, who said, when he told him to go forward, "I'll go forward if I like."  At the same time he struck the mate but fell on the hen coop, and his head bled.  I tried to take and wash him, but he rushed off and sat down on the quarter deck, crying out and bleeding very much.  I then said I would have nothing more to do with him.  I went down below, and hearing a scream, returned and found the mate in the cabin, dying in the captain's arms.

His Worship asked prisoner if he had any questions to put to this witness.

Prisoner - I don't know anything about it.  It is no use for me to ask questions.

His Worship - Well, I have now got enough evidence to justify me in committing you for trial for willful murder of the man.  If you wish to make any statement before me, you can if you like, but you may reserve any defence you may have for the trial. Whatever you say, however, I will take down, and it may be used as evidence against you.

Prisoner - I have nothing to say, I know nothing at all about it, and I know that my heart would not have allowed me to do such a thing.  It is a thing I could not do.  I have no friends here, no one belonging to me; I put myself in your hands; do with me what you please, sir.  That is all I have to say.

His Worship then committed the prisoner for trial for wilful murder.

[For trial see Law Reports Supreme Court in North China Herald, 2 June 1871;  and Judges Notebooks Vol. 339, 1871 [pages 32-41], Reg. v. William Williams; Murder of Thomas Mitcheson.]


Source: The North-China Herald, 2 June 1871


May 27th, 1871

Before G. JAMIESON, Esq.


Drunk &c.

Defendant, who is a pensioner on public bounty, administered at the Hongkew Police Station, was dismissed from the bar with the caution that next time he appeared there he would be deported.


May 29th.


Drunk and riotous on the Yang-king-pang, assaulting the French Police and being the cause of one of these losing his watch.

MARTIN ECKOLD, sworn, stated - While arresting the defendants on the Yang-king-pang I lost a watch and chain, which cost me $18.  They were my own private property.

Defendants said they knew nothing about the watch.

His Worship required then to pay $5 each towards the watch, being about half the value, but every means must be taken to find it and if it were found the money would be returned.  Both men to pay costs also.



Making disturbance and fighting with the police.

One of the French police said the men were fighting in a house on the Yang-king-pang and when he went to separate them he got his hand bitten by Wilson.

Wilson did not know anything about the biting.  He was sent ashore to find some men.

Wilson fined $1 and costs.

Reynolds said he had been trying to quiet the men; and finding this statement to be true,

His Worship dismissed the charge against him.


JOHN KILLY, "Eme."  Drunk &c., to pay costs.

JAMES HAKE, "Grecian." Drunk &c., to pay costs.


Drunk and assaulting police.

Constable PARKER saw the four defendants on the Bund outside the U.S. Consulate, all more or less drunk, and Guttrae worst.  Told Guttrae he must go to his ship, but he replied that it was none of witness's business.  Found it necessary to take up Guttrae, and in doing so was assisted by Sergeant Slater whom Brown struck on the head.  Witness let go Guttrae and caught hold of Brown, and Peterson then came up, threw witness down and, putting his foot on his breast, tried to wrench his baton from his hand.  Witness got up and Peterson then threatened him with a knife.  Some gentlemen passing assisted the police to take the men into custody.

Sergeant SLATER gave similar evidence and said Brown was the man who began the assault on the police, by striking witness.  Guttrae was simply very drunk.

Guttrae fined $1 and costs, and the others fined $5 each and costs.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School