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Colonial Cases

Aboo, 1884



Netherlands Consular Court

Michaelsen, 19 July 1884

Source: North China Herald, 25 July 1884

Shanghai, 19th July 1884
Before St. C. MICHAELSEN, Esq., Acting Consul, and
W. MEYERINK, Esq., and W. VAN CORBACH, Esq., Assessors.
  ABOO, a sailor, aged 40, a native of Java, and a Mahomedan, was brought up by Inspector Fowler and charged with the murder of Kachong, also a native of Java, in Hongkew on the 11th inst.
  Mr. F. Borchardt, Registrar of the Court, read the depositions taken at the preliminary enquiries.
  The first enquiry was held on the 11th June, before Mr. J. Rhein, Secretary to the Netherlands Legation at Peking, in the absence of the Acting Consul.  Alie, a Malay, was the first witness called at this examination.  He said the prisoner and the deceased came to Shanghai as sailors in the Marie Stewart, from Singapore. Alie saw the two men fighting on the 11th inst. in an alley off Bamboo Square. Abdool, another Malay, confined this statement and said he carried the wounded man out of the alley. The police were then sent for, and they carried Kachong to the hospital, but he died before he got there.  The prisoner made the following statement: "My name is Aboo; I am forty years of age, and a native of Banjeonmas, Java.  I confess to having been quarrelling with Kachong, and I admit to having stabbed him with a knife." A certificate was produced from Dr. Neil Macleod stating that he had made a post mortem examination of the body of Kachong, and that death had been caused by hemorrhage from a wound extending from the left arm in front of a shoulder joint and into the cavity of the chest, and that the wound must have been inflicted by a sharp-pointed instrument which in its passage had severed a large artery and pierced the lung.  There were four other wounds in the shoulder and neck.
  The case was then remanded till the return of the Acting Dutch Consul.
  A second preliminary enquiry was held on the 16th June before Mr. St. C. Michaelsen, Acting Consul. P.C. William Rae stated that at 11 o'clock on Friday morning he was ordered to go and settle a disturbance in Malay Street, Hongkew.  He went there, and the witness. Abdool pointed out Aboo to him. He arrested both Abdool and Aboo and took them to the police station; and he then returned and assisted another officer to take the body of Kachong to the police station, and afterwards to the native hospital.  The doctor being absent, they took the body to the General Hospital, and witness went for Dr. Henderson.  Dr. Henderson was absent, but Dr. Macleod came and examined the body and told them to take it to the mortuary chapel.  When witness first arrived Kachong was not dead, but he died immediately after the arrival of Constable Eddie.  P.C. Alexander Eddie said he was called out at 11 o'clock on Friday morning, the 11th July, to go and settle a disturbance in Malay Street, Hongkew.  On arriving there he found the prisoner in charge of Constable Rae, and Kachong lying on the ground saturated with blood.  P.C. Rae took the prisoner to the police station, and witness took the wounded man to the native hospital, and afterwards to the General Hospital.  Abdool, the next witness, said he was a quartermaster, a native of Singapore, and a Mahomedan.  He was passing the accused's house, on his way to the market, when he saw the accused and the deceased fighting, and he saw the accused stab the deceased.  Witness tried to separate the two men, but he could not; while he was trying to separate them, the accused bit witness's finger.  Alie then struck the prisoner, and witness lifted the wounded man and carried him out of the alley.  Alie, the next witness, said he also was a quartermaster, a native of Singapore and a Mahomedan.  He said he saw Aboo stabbing Kahong and tried to take the knife away from him, but could not succeed.  He then took a piece of wood and struck Aboo on the head with it, and made him drop the knife. The police were then sent for, and Abdool, witness and accused were all taken to the police station.  The prisoner made the following statement. "I am forty years of age, and was born at Banjoennas, Java.  I am a sailor, and am of the Mahomedan religion.  When I met Kachong on Friday last I noticed that he was in a state of intoxication. We went out together for a walk, and when we  had returned I sat down and began cutting tobacco.  Kachong then began to quarrel with me, and tried to pull me up.  Thereupon I put my knife in my pocket, and we got hold of each other and wrestled.  While we were wrestling I received a heavy blow on my head, which stunned me, and I do not remember anything that happened afterwards."
  All the depositions having been read,
  The Consul a sked the Assessors if they thought it necessary to confront the witnesses again.  He remarked that in his last statement the prisoner said he had been struck, and this might amount to a pleas of self-defence.  He suggested that the witnesses and prisoner should be recalled and questioned on this point.
  The prisoner and witnesses were accordingly recalled.
  The prisoner, examined by the court through Mr. Thomas Deighton, who acted as Malay interpreter, said it was Alie who struck him; but he got excited and did not see whom he was striking in return.  Kachong was holding him, and he could not get clear from him.  The knife he used was a sailor's sheath-knife.
  Alie, examined by the Consul, said the prisoner had stabbed Kachong twice before he (witness) struck him on the head,
  The court-room was then cleared while the Court considered whether the case was one with which they could deal themselves, or whether it should be referred to the Supreme Court at Java.
  On the Court re-opening,
  The Consul said - In the name of His Majesty the King of the Netherlands.  This Court is not assembled here for the purpose of trying the accused, but only of deciding where he is to be tried.  The Court is of opinion that the accused has killed the man Kachong, but not willfully.  On the other hand the Court does not consider it to be a case of self-defence, because the blow which the accused received with a stick or a piece of wood did not justify him in using a knife and stabbing the deceased.  As the punishment for the crime of manslaughter is not within the competency of this Court, the Court has decided to send the case for trial at the Supreme Court at Batavia.
  The Consul then directed Inspector Fowler to take charge of the prisoner, and said he would be sent to Batavia in the course of a week.

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