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Colonial Cases

Preussen, 1893

[homicide]

Preussen

German Consular Court, Shanghai
Eiswaldt, 14 June 1893
Source: North China Herald, 16 June 1893

GERMAN CONSULAR COURT.
Shanghai, 14th June.
Before Vice-Consul Eiswaldt.
THE "PREUSSEN" AFFAIR.
  Further evidence in relation to the stabling affair in which the German firemen belonging to the Preussen are concerned, and which occurred beyond Kongwan on the night of the 21st of May was given today. The Shanghai city magistrate, the Paoshan magistrate (in whose district the stabbing took place), and Mrs. Tsai, the Mixed Court magistrate, were present in the Court. The proceedings were entirely in Chinese and German, Mr. Chang, German interpreter at the Arsenal, acted as interpreter.
  Yang Hang-shi was the first witness. She said -  I am the adopted mother of the deceased Yang Ah-liu. On the evening he was stabbed by the Preussen men, I heard a cry of "Mother, I am stabbed. I am hurt to death." I rushed out and found him covered with blood and lying on the ground. He said that he had been stabbed by some foreigners. His wound near the shoulder seemed so serious that I rushed for the police.
  By Mr. Eiswaldt - That was the spot which I pointed out to you yesterday. I come from Ch'uansha and so did the deceased.
  Schultz, the man accused of having dealt the fatal blow, was then called and was informed what the woman had said. He said that the deceased ran after receiving a blow.
  Yang Hang-shi - The deceased did not move from the spot. I was so excited with the affair that I did not notice any Chinese but I certainly saw a number of foreigners running in a northerly direction. I was in a hurry and as soon as I saw my adopted son wounded I rushed away southwards at once to call for the police. It was rather dark then, but I distinctly saw some foreigners running in a northerly direction. I did not follow them, because the cries of my son called me to the spot. I asked him also who struck him, he said "Foreigners." I saw about from five to six men.  It was near the Rifle Butts where he had been stabbed. The foreigners were running quickly. At the first moment I could not see the deceased, but heard his voice.
  Wattman, another Preussen man, was next called and gave an account of the fight with the Chinese. He said they had been attacked by a number of men armed with long bamboos and had to fight in self-defence.
  Mr. Eiswaldt - The Chinese say that no one attacked you at all.
  Witness - I did not strike any one, but one Chinese.
  Chang Ah-san, a jinricksha coolie, - one of the wounded men -  then said that he pulled his fare as far as the carriage stable near the Rifle Butts, but a stout German (Fischer) rushed on him during the scuffle and he ran but he was caught up with and received his wound some distance from the place he stopped with his jinricksha. He was chased because he asked for his fare.  As he did not pull Fischer he did not know why he was chased. He remembered distinctly the place where he was struck and the place he stropped his jinricksha. That was the spot he showed the Consul on the previous day.
  Mr. Eiswaldt - I think the spot you pointed out as the place you received the wound could not have been the place. You said in your last examination that you heard people say that a young child had also been stabbed. Now the place where the child (Yang Ah-liu) was stabbed was very near the place you received your wounds. The distance was so near that it was impossible for you to be stabbed and then to hear of a child's being stabbed in so short a time, and you must have heard the child's cries.
  Chang Ah-san - I lay for a long time in the fields after I was stabbed and did not hear any child's cries. I have no idea who had been stabbed first, the deceased Yang Ah-liu or myself. When I called out afterwards several persons came up to me and I heard them say that if the foreigners got to Woosung they would soon be captured as there were soldiers there to help.
  Kee, a jinricksha coolie, then stated that on the night of the fray he was near the Hongkew Police Station with his jinricksha waiting for a fare. He had been there about half an hour when he saw a woman come to the Station saying that her child had been stabbed by some foreigners near the Rifle Butts. A few minutes afterwards the last witness Chang Ah-san also came saying that he also had been wounded in the arm by the foreigners. He had his right arm supported by his left hand as he entered the yard of the Police Station. Witness had no fares all that time and saw everything going on outside the Police Station.
  The Court at this stage adjourned for tiffin.
  At the adjourned sitting of the Court at 2.30 o'clock the Chinese officials attended as before.
  The wife of the jinricksha coolie Chang Ah-san was the first of the witnesses examined. She said that on the evening when her husband was stabbed she was cooking the evening meal, and the first thing she knew of the affair was when some one came and told her that her husband had been stabbed by foreigners. When she went out to the spot where her husband had been wounded she did not see any foreigners.  Her husband went out to his work after the nonday meal, and she did not see him until he was wounded. He went to carry some passengers to the Woosung fort that day. When she went to find her husband she went also to report the affair to the Military Officer at Kongwan, Lieut. Wong, but she did not see him. Her husband had been brought home already when Lieut. Wong and the tipao went on theIr search after the culprits, but she saw the officer afterwards the same night. She saw her husband lying within a few yards of his jinricksha. He lay to the north-east of it. He did not have to go for a fare as he had already been engaged that noon when he left the house. When she went to see her husband, on receipt of the news of his being wounded, she only saw two jinrickshas besides her husband's. On asking him how it happened he had told her that he had been first beaten and then stabbed on the left arm.
  Another jinricksa coolie, the companion of Chang Ah-san, the wounded colie, was then examined. He said - I did not see Chang Ah-san have any bamboo pole with which Wattman says Chang Ah-san struck him. We were pulling our jinrickhas and it was impossible for either of us to have any poles or sticks in our possession then.
  Wattman being called to confront the witness said that on that night he and his companions were chased by Chang Ah-san and a number of Chinese armed with long bamboo poles, and as Chang Ah-san caught up with him he struck the speaker with his pole. Wattman then wrestled away the pole of Chang Ah-san and in doing so shoved him on his back. That was the spot where Chang Ah-san had said that he lay for quite a while after receiving his knife wound at the hands of Wattman.
  About 3.45, Mr. Eiswaldt called together all the prisoners, seven in all, who had been brought over from the Hongkew Station - only three of them had been examined that day - and gave them an outline of what had been said by the Chinese witnesses, which was in the main denied by them. Schultz, the man accused of using the fatal knife on the deceased youth Yang Ah-liu, is quite a young man, with a boyish face, a low forehead, and dark scrubby hair.
  The steward, about the oldest of them, appeared to be the spokesman of the party and tried in a speech of some length to prove that what they had done had been done in self-defence against a crowd of over two hundred excited peasants armed with poles and other weapons which they had obtained from the fort.  One of the prisoners, a short man, then said that he had lost some money - ten dollars, which he had put into his boot, and this money had been taken away from him by the soldiers and peasants when they were captured, and asked that it should be returned to him.
  Thereupon the magistrate of Paoshan, Mr. Ma, said that the tipao and his men had taken them before him (the magistrate) just as they were, and that nothing had been taken away from the prisoners by any one. Again, where were the peasants to get their bamboos and wooden poles?  There are none in the forts.  This was a new defence of the prisoners which they had not stated in their previous examination. The prisoners were then sent back into confinement, from whence they will be sent to Bremen for trial.
  Before leaving the Court Mr. Huang, the Shanghai Magistrate, said to Mr. Eiswaldt; "The prisoners said that there were over two hundred Chinese pursuing them with weapons and poles, while they were only seven men, and so were compelled to act in self-defence. If so, then why should they (the prisoners) so inferior in number come out of the fight without a scratch, whilst one Chinese had died from wounds received at their hands, and two others received severe wounds which luckily had not turned out fatally?"

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