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Colonial Cases

R v. Joe [1873]


Supreme Court for China

Shanghai, 14 January 1873

Source: Supreme Court of China (Shanghai), Judges' Notebooks, The National Archives (U.K.), FO1092: 339, pp 63-70

Regina v. Chai Joe.

Indictment - read - Larceny of a gold ring and a pearl ring.

Not guilty.

Jurors, sworn: H. Dyer; J. D. [Fabris] W. J. Harris; C. J. Harvey; T. Payne.

Lou a Kan

I am a silver smith in the [Szechuan] Rd. I remember the Prisoner coming to my shop on the 16th of Decr to buy. 2 foreigners came. Prisoner was one. They wanted to buy earrings & other jewellery. There is a counter in the shop with a flap over it. The Prisoner spoke to me in Cantonese & sd he wanted to buy some ear-rings. One went inside the Counter - the Prisoner - the other stayed in front of it. The Prisoner said he wanted all sorts of jewellery & took the things out of the show case. I found afterwards two rings missing - one was set with a Pearl & the other with a round Ball of gold. The gold one belongs to a gentleman. It was sent as a sample. I missed the rings a few minutes after the Prisoner had left the shop. They had been put in the case at 11 a.m. & the Prisoner came at 12 a.m. No one had been there except the Prisoner that morning. I had been in the shop all the time. I should know the rings again. I have seen them since at the Hong you Police Station. I went to report the robbery to the Police Station. The Pearl ring is worth 7 dollars exclusive of the Pearl, the other I hardly know the value of it. (Rings produced.) These are the rings. I am quite sure it was only the Prisoner who went behind the Counter.


Sergt. Alex. Malcolm.

I am a sergeant of Station at Hongue. I remember arresting the Prisoner. I found in the left hand [coat] pocket 2 Rings, one set with a Pearl the other gold. They were in the Corner between the pocket & the Vest in the corner. There was a hole in the side of the Pocket. They would not be easily found if putting the hand in the pocket. I found them by putting my hand lightly outside the vest. These are the rings; they have been in my possession ever since. He said he had got them from a friend.

X Nothing

Verdict ---- Guilty.

2nd Indictment. Charged with stealing a silver watch [property] of Kuen ah Lo.

Plea "Not guilty"

Kuen Ah Lo

I am a silver smith in the Sezheun [Szechuan] road. I remember the Prisoner coming to my shop on the 1 st day of the 10th moon (1 st of November); he came with another man. They wanted to buiy some jewellery. They spoke to me in a Foreeign language. I did not understand what they said - but that they wanted to buy. There is a counter in the shop, behind is a show-case full of jewellery. There was a watch there amongst them. The Prisoner went behind the Counter & took out some jewellery which he handed over to me to wrap up. The price was agreed on. I was looking at the show case watching it. [tick in margin] The other man was outside the Counter behind me standing at the table. I saw him take a watch out of the Case & ran away with it. His friend went away with it. I was alone in the shop & could not follow them. I waited until my fellow shop-man came in about an hour. I then went out to collect bills. Aftwds I went down to Hongue & heard a foreigner had been arrested for stealking. I went to the Station. I recognised the prisoner & the watch. There were seven or eight men there & I recognised the Prisoner. I am quite sure he is the man who took the watch. I described the watch to the Police before I saw it. I then recognised it. This is the watch (watch & chain produced). The Chain is not mine.

X Nothing

Hing ah Hing

I am a Swatow man. A Pawnbroker. I keep a shop on the Hongyou Maloo. I remember receiving this watch in Pawn - the prisoner pawned it. Two men brought it to me. I lent 20 $ on it. I gave it over to the prisoner, the prisoner handed the watch to me. It has not been redeemed. I kept the watch until the police came for it. The prisoner pawned another gold ring.

X Nothing


I took the watch from the Pawn shop & it has been in my possession ever since. I was at the Police station when the 1 st witness came; he told me that 2 men came to his shop & one had run away with a watch. I asked him to describe the watch - he said it was a large watch with a steamer on it. He said it was worth 60 taels. I told him to come again. I got a number of [??????????] men & put the Prisoner amongst them - he recognised him. I showed him the watch amonst other watches - six or seven. 4 [Prisoners] were arrested & sevl watches found on them. It was from amongst them & others that the witness selected the watch in question. I found other property in the Pawn shop that has been identified as stolen by the Prisoner.

Prisoner says: He went to the Pawn shop with a friend to pawn this watch & handed the 20 $ to him. He has never gone to H Kong.


3rd Indictment. 2 watches. Stealing. Not guilty.


I am a silver smith in the Hunan road 126. The Prisoner with 2 others came to my shop on the 20th day of Novr. One was Pock-marked. They wanted to buy some gold rings. I showed them to him on the counter in four packets. Two men came behind the Counter & one stood outside. They picked up the rings to look at them. The rings were wrapped in paper. I number the rings & enter them in a Book & when I sell them I mark them off in my Book. I know what rings I have in the case. I tried to prevent them taking up the packets. They persisted in taking them uip - they did not unfold the Packets. I did that. They only felt them. I am certain the Prisoner handled the rings. They bought nothing. I saw they were foreigners. On the eveng of the day I tallied the numvbers & found two rings were missing. Every 5th & 10th day I tally. The day before I had seen them in the drawer & were not sold before the Prisoner came to the shop. I next saw the prisoner at the Police Station - he was mixed with about 10 men. I picked him out. I have seen the rings, I described them first. These are the rings. They have my mark on them. The Prisoner never paid any money not $10.


I never sold to you or the other man any Ring. It is untrue I gave you any receipt. I do give receipts when required of the Parties.

Hing ah Hing

Pawn shop keeper. I remember getting this ring - it was on the 21 st day of November. The Prisoner pawned it. I lent $8 on it. It has not been redeemed. I gave it up to the Police.

[Paly??????] a [guide] brought up in Custody. Deposes that he never pawned a ring for the Prisoner - that he believes he did buy a ring for $10 but not when or from whom.

16 other charges agst him.

Guilty of Stealing a Ring.

For all 3 offences.

Sentence 18 mos Impt with hard labour & then to be deported to Singapore - if he elects - instead of H Kong or England.

Order Police to return all property to owners.

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