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Colonial Cases

Tsze Yuen Fung v. Reynolds, 1876

[rent payable to Chinese government]

Tsze Yuen Fung v. Reynolds

Civil Summary Court, Shanghai
Mowat, 24 April 1876
Source: The North China Herald, 29 April 1876




Shanghai, April 24th

Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq.



   In this action, the plaintiff claimed $88.10, due for ground rent, payable to the Chinese Government.

   Defendant admitted his indebtedness, and explained that the claim was in reference to the silt along the foreshore of his lands at Pootung, being land in excess of that included in the title deeds.  He protested against payment on the ground that the amount should be taken as a set-off against an amount he paid in 1865, in accordance with a judgment given by Sir Edmund Hornby [see R. v. Reynolds & Holtz, 1865], whereby he was compelled to pay Tls. 1,720 for 48 mow of land, in excess of that called for in the title deed.  He had it from the United States Consul-General that the foreshore immediately in front of the old Consulate, was filled in and extended riverwards, forming the present site of the American Consulate, Mitsu Bishi, and Jardine's godowns, and for all that extent of land, the land tax was only paid, and they had not been compelled to pay so much as a mow for the land, as in his case. As a British subject he claimed the same rights, privileges, and immunities, as the Chinese authorities granted to citizens of other nations, and he read a clause in the British Treaty in support of his claim.

   The Tls. 1,720 which he had paid under circumstances which the citizens of other nations were entirely free from, should in his opinion, be taken as a set-off against the ground rent for all time to come.  Moreover, the Chinese authorities had had his money for years, and the interest on it was more than double the amount of the tax.  He did not desire to deny the claim, but he wished to raise the question.  He had no objection   to pay the amount under protest.

   His HONOUR said the proper course to take was for the defendant to adders his Consul, and get him to forward his claim, and if necessary to urge it, before the Chinese authorities.

   Defendant said hew was suffering under a wrong, because Tls. 1,720 were paid under pritest at gthe time, and he had since learbed that the citizens of other natuions did not pay mioney under such circusxmatnbces.  In the meantime he was willing to pay any just tax, and he would patty this amount under protest.  He asked his Honour to record his protest on the minutes of the proceedings.

   His HONOUR thought It was of very little use, but he would, since the defendant applied, make a note to the effect that the defendant admitted the tax was a just one, but considered he had a larger claim against the Chinese Government.

   It was explained that the plaintiff was the proper person to bring the action, and his Honour gave a verdict for the amount claimed, with costs.

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