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Colonial Cases

Mixed Court 1900

North China Herald, 10 January 1900

The Mixed Court.

The Mixed Court on Wednesday morning (3rd) before Mr. Weng (magistrate) and Mr. S. F. Mayers (British assessor), a man was before the Court who had been sentenced with another man on the 28th of last June to five years' imprisonment for coining and being in possession of a quantity of machinery for that purpose. Detective Gilfillam stated he found accused wandering about the Seward Road.  The two men had been charged at the time with two others who were dismissed. Upon sentence last June the Taotai had made request that the culprits be handed over to the District Magistrate for punishment. Prisoner said the other man had been banished, and that he had been released as there was nothing against him. Detective Gilfillan stated this was the principal, as incriminating papers and documents had been found in hi house; the other mem were simply his servants. Inspector Ramsay drew attention to the fact that he was found guilty by the Court and had only been handed over by request pf the Taotai. The case was remanded pending communication with the City authorities. 

  Two men were charged with enticing a man from his house and defrauding him of $60, a gold finger ring and a silver watch. They were each sentenced to 300 blows and twelve months.

  On Thursday morning (4th) before Mr. Chang (deputy magistrate) and Dr. Barchet (American assessor).  Mr. F. A. Cumming's mafoo was charged with assaulting people with a whip whilst driving a carriage along the Nanking Road. An Indian constable gave evidence of witnessing the affair and said he arrested the man at the instigation of Deputy-Captain Superintendent Mackenzie.  Mr. Cummings paid the fine of $1 imposed by the Court.

  A mafoo was charged by the Police with working a donkey in a butcher's cart whilst the animal was suffering from terribly raw, open wounds The mafoo's employer appeared and was promptly fined $10.


North China Herald, 17 January, 1900


At the Mixed Court on Saturday morning (6th) before Mr. Weng (magistrate) and Mr. Eusinger (German assessor), a man was charged with stealing $100 from a safe on the Laou Kung Mow Mill premises. The case was remanded for further enquiries.

   A man was charged with stealing a quantity of belting, valued at $56, from the said mill, and was given two weeks' imprisonment.

  A native P.C. was accused of having stolen 1,000 cash from the scene of a late fire at 24 Hoopeh Road. Inspector Wilson stated the man had been placed there on duty on behalf of the insurance office and had stolen the money and taken it to a teashop to be taken care of until such time as he was off duty and could call for it. He was given two weeks' imprisonment and dismissed the force.

   A boatman was charged with another not in custody with having sold a boat-load of cotton, valued at $592, which had been entrusted to him to convey from Amoy Road to Pootung. The cotton was sold for $470. The receiver appeared, and was fined $30 and ordered to return 10 bales to the owner. The boatman was punished with 300 blows. A warrant was issued for the other ma's apprehension.

   On Monday (8th) before Mr. Weng (Magistrate) and Mr. S. F. Mayers (British assessor), a man was charged with another not in custody with uttering two bad dollars. The Police stated that when prisoner was searched a third counterfeit dollar was found upon him. The change of the other two dollars had been given by prisoner to his confederate, who had decamped. Accused was given three months' imprisonment.

   Aman was charged with stealing valuables amounting to $400 from176, Kiangse Road, and a woman was charged with having received $94 from the accused with the knowledge of same having been stolen. The $94 was returned to the prosecutor and the woman was dismissed. The man was sentenced to six months; imprisonment.

   Three men were accused of having stolen 87 packages of coloured silks valued at $1,000, the property of their employer, from a silk shop in Canton Road. One of the men was ordered to pay $800 within a week, the other two to be released upon adequate security.

   On Tuesday (9th) before Mr. Weng (magistrate) and Dr. Barchet (American assessor),  a coolie was charged with obtaining a bicycle worth$125 on the 16th of last June from a Shop in the North Szechuen Road by means of false pretences. He was given 200 blows. Another man was charged with receiving the bicycle knowing it to have been stolen. He was ordered to pay $60 compensation.

   A man was accused of returning from deportation. The Police stated accused had been sentenced in 1897 to 1,400 blows, two months' cangue, and deportation for attempted assassination. He was given two months' imprisonment and ordered to be re-deported.

   On Wednesday morning (10th) before Mr. Weng (magistrate) and Mr. S. F. Mayers (British assessor), a "boy" was charged with stealing a cash box from Dr. F. Buyme's room in Nanking Road. The box contained various foreign coins and dollars, amounting to $105. The culprit was given six months' imprisonment.

   Mr. Poignand prosecuted four men for assaulting several of his coolies. He stated that the trouble arose over the right of way across a plank over a boat of coal. Two of his coolies were at present in hospital and unlikely to be out in less than a fortnight. The four accused were each sentenced to 200 blows and three days' cangue.

   A respectably dressed native was charged with stealing and laying a false charge against a native detective. Accused had, it seemed, shared a room for one night with a teacher in a native lodging house and when leaving appropriated a silver watch and silk gown. On complaint being made at the Police Station a detective was sent to investigate. He traced the accused, who became incensed that he should lose "face" by being traced. A few days later accused went to the police station and complained that he had been assaulted by the detective and that he had paid the latter a sum of $30 squeeze. The charge of assault and bribery against the detective was proved false. Inspector Matheson pressed for exemplary punishment and accused was given 300 blows and six months' imprisonment.

   A man and wife were accused of illegally detaining a young girl from the lawful custody of her parents from the 20th of last October. Inspector Bourke stated that on their own admission they were about to dispose of her to Japan. The husband was ordered 500 blows and a months' cangue, the wife being discharged.

   Inspector Wilson made complaint in reference to a warrant which had been applied for in the Court on the 23rd of December for the arrest of a man concerned in bringing unlicensed milk into the settlement. Dairy Inspector C. Champion appeared and stated that the man had since disappeared, but the coolie who had been caught was then in Court. The coolie was discharged as the offence really lay against his employer, and the assessor hoped the warrant would be obtained when applied for in future.

   On Thursday morning before Mr. Weng (magistrate) and Dr. Barchet (American assessor), a native bonze who had been convicted about a month ago for stealing three half balls of opium was again before the Court. On this occasion he was charged with stealing three pieces of white jade stone from a dwelling on the Bubbling Well Road.  He was given 500 blows and sentenced to be deported to Hankow.
   Two men were charged with stealing various articles from Yuen Ming Yuen and Museum Roads. One of the thieves was a well-known gaol bird, having been convicted about 20 times previously, once for a term of twelve months. He and his companion were sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

 On Friday morning before Mr. Weng (magistrate) and Mr. S. F. Mayers (British assessor), a man employed as a painter in renovating a house on the Bubbling Well Road was charged with stealing $500 worth of clothing, silver plate and jewellery. Sergeant Aiers stated the man had only been employed there that day (10th instant) and about 11 o'clock at night returned, climbed the water spout to the verandah entered the room, broke open a box and took the articles. A native constable met the man walking away with part of the stolen goods and the others were discovered under a heap of rubbish close to the house. Everything had been recovered with the exception of a ring and a brooch. The case was adjourned for further enquiries.

   A house boy was charged with stealing $20 and $60 in silver from a foreign house where he had been employed. He had spent $54 of the money in good clothing and used the remainder with the exception of about $3. The police were told to realise the clothing and to hand the amount to the prosecutrix. Accused was given 200 blows and six months' imprisonment.

   On Saturday morning before Mr. Chang (deputy magistrate) and Mr. Eusinger (German assessor) twelve gamblers were each given, with the exception of one man, 300 blows; the remaining culprit was remanded pending further enquiries.

   The office coolie who was charged a week ago in connection with the theft of $400 from a safe in the office of the Laou Kung Mow filature again appeared before the Court. The evidence of a foreign clerk., an assistant in the office, Mr. Rosenfeld's boy, and an Indian watchman was heard which all pointed to the fact that the office was closed at 7 p.m. and opened in the morning (Sunday, 24th December) by prisoner. The foreign clerk stated that he discovered several bundles of notes missing when he had occasion to open the safe at 9 a.m. that morning, and upon looking them over $400 were missing. A witness was called who was undergoing a term of six weeks' imprisonment for stealing a quantity of belting. This man stated that he had seen accused taking away the money in four bundles and accused had threatened to kill him if he (witness) should "split."  The money was not recovered, as it was stated that he had had plenty of time to dispose of it -nearly a week before he was arrested. The case was gone into at some length and the Court finally sentenced accused to nine months' imprisonment.

   On Monday morning before Mr. Weng (magistrate) and Mr. S. F. Mayers (British assessor), two men were changed, with others not in custody, with stealing 11 piculs of oranges from the s.s. Newchwang. An officer of the steamer appeared in Court and stated that he had found the oranges in the accuseds' boxes and rooms. They were each sentenced to seven days' imprisonment.

   Mr. E. A. Hewett prosecuted a servant in his employ for stealing a $10 note. Mr. Hewett stated that the note had been sent to him for the Patriotic Fund, and he had put it, enclosed in an envelope, into his pocket. Upon leaving his bath in the morning the contents of his pocket had been placed upon his dressing-table, but the note was not there and an unsuccessful search was instituted. The only persons having access to the room while he was in his bath were the No. 2 boy and a coolie. In the evening the coolie asked the amah if the master's room had been searched, and upon being told it had, asked the amah to go there with him and search, with the result that the spoiled linen basket, which had before been overlooked, was found to contain the note, wrapped up in pocket handkerchief. Accused was sentenced to 14 days' imprisonment.

   A man was charged with another not in custody with stealing a pony and blanket from the Shanghai Horse Bazaar on the 16th of last October. The animal and blanket together were valued at$100. Accused had sold the pony to a knacker-yard proprietress at Pahsienjao. He was sentenced to 500 blows, one months' imprisonment, and deportation to Tientsin. A man who had assisted in the sale of the animal was given 200 blows and a month.  The other accused, not in custody, was ordered to receive 500 blows, a month's imprisonment, and deportation. While the proprietress of the slaughter-house, who did not appear, was ordered to pay for the pony.

   The gambler who was remanded from Saturday last for further enquiries was brought up again, when Inspector Ramsay stated that he was known to be the head of a gambling syndicate. A number of gold and diamond rings were found in his possession which had probably been forfeited by his customers. He was given 500 blows and a year's imprisonment. 

   A man was accused by eleven prosecutors of stealing water pipes. Inspector Wilson stated there were twenty-four more pipes, for whom owners could not be found. He was sentenced to 200 blows, three months' imprisonment and deportation.

   A man and a woman were separately charged with firing off crackers and bombs as prohibited by the Municipal Regulations. The woman was fined $4 and the man $3.

   A hawker was charged with attempting to utter a forged $5 Imperial Bank of China note. The note was a very palpable forgery and was numbered 23,419. It was offered by the hawker for a number of bottles by the complainant, a cash shop proprietor, who detected the forgery at once. Prisoner stated he had received the note from a loadah of a steam launch plying to Soochow, but would not be able to recognise him again. The Court held that there was no proof of knowledge, and the accused was cautioned and discharged.

   Yesterday morning before Mr. Weng (magistrate) and Dr. Barchet (American assessor) two women employed t the Wo Sah Silk Filature, Yangtzepoo Road, were charged with creating a disturbance. The trouble arose over a dispute among the female hands of the mill about thwor wages. The mill being about to be closed, the women, some 400, accused the shroff of "squeezing." Consequently they struck work, turned out into the road, and interfered with the traffic. They assaulted the women who wished to continue work and one of the shroffs. The police were sent for and the two ring leaders were arrested. They failed to appear last Saturday, having been bailed out for $20 each. The case was then adjourned until yesterday, as one of the woman assaulted complained of being ill. They again failed to appear, and the Court ordered their bail, $40, to be forfeited, $5 of which was to be given to the injured woman, and $35 to St. Luke's Hospital.


North China Herald, 24 January 1900


Shanghai, 17th January.

Before Mr. Weng (Magistrate) and Mr. F.S. A. Bourne (British Assessor),


In this case the Assessor stated that one of the defendants had paid the $100 fine into Court. The other man who [had) been sentenced to three months' imprisonment would be now released on giving a guarantee that he would not interfere with Mr. Chambers' workmen at the new Chinese Bank.



The plaintiff in this case, which was last heard on the 8th of November, stated that two men had obeyed the orders of the Court, but another, Kun Feng-ch'in, still owed $200. Mr. Kingsmill's shroff said the man was somewhere in French Town. The case was adjourned until he appeared in Court.



This was a case where defendant had ordered sundry goods and would not take them up at the specific date. A representative of the plaintiff appeared and stated that their loss was about Tls. 1,200 and they wished to recover the amount, if possible. Defendant spoke about others being concerned in the affair, but the Assessor remarked he had had plenty of time to produce them and as he had not done so. they probably did not exist, and further suggested he should be handed over to the Municipal Police. Defendant said he had paid $260 bargain money. Of this plaintiff denied any knowledge. A compromise was suggested by the Assessor but the plaintiffs were unwilling to accept this as the affair had been running for some time, and they considered it a bad case of fraud, besides, they had found out that since defendant had been attempting to interfere with other customers of the firm. The Assessor agreed the man was a swindler.

   The Court decided to lock the man up for two weeks and hoped the plaintiffs would come to some arrangement by then. If it was found in the meantime that he had any property, the Court would issue an order for its sale, so as to realise the amount for which he was sued.


This was a case arising out of an alleged breach of contract by the defendant. Mr. Viloudaki appeared for the plaintiffs and said the defendant had contracted to deliver 50 piculs of silk waste at a certain date. The contract had been made through a broker but defendant  had appeared at plaintiff's office. The contract was not formally signed, and Mr. Viloudaki said this mode of contract was customary with men who were known to them, the transaction beng noted in a contract book kept for the purpose.  He produced the book, and called several witnesses in support of the assertion. Defendant had only delivered 25 piculs. Plaintiffs would not have brought defendant to Court had it not been found subsequently that he had taken 80 piculs elsewhere.

   Mr. Viloudaki wanted this to be a test case as silk goods were frequently contracted for months ahead and if contracts were broken on account of better prices it would make matters extremely awkward.

   Defendant denied going to plaintiffs' office but three witnesses proved he did. Mr. Viloudaki stated that he dealt in over 10,000 piculs of this class of goods every year and never had any trouble. As prices had been bad last year he had dealt leniently with defendant. The Assessor stated that the Magistrate would like a day or two to consider the case and it would not be necessary for Mr. Viloudaki to attend.



In this case the plaintiff sued for an alleged breach of contract in connection with the purchase of a piece of land.  Plaintiff had paid $150 bargain money and by the terms of the contract (produced) defendants stood to forfeit $300 if they failed to fulfil the terms of the contract at a specific date. Defendant had at thge date refused to sell or pay the money. The Magistrate suggested to compromise the matter by defendant paying $200. Mr. Cunning asked that considering the trouble he had been put to the defendant should be made to forfeit the $300. The magistrate made another suggestion, that plaintiff pay another $100 and keep the land. This was objected to also. The Court finally fined defendant $300 to be paid within a week; and to return the $150 bargain money to the plaintiff.


AT THE MIXED COURT on Wednesday (17th) before Mr. Weng (Magistrate), and Mr. S. F. Mayers (British Assessor), a mafoo was charged with driving his carriage on to the Nanking Road jetty, where no vehicles are allowed. He was fined $10.

   A contractor was accused of failing to place sufficient protection against falling bricks at the building in course of erection on the corner of Nanking and Kiangse Roads. Inspector Matheson stated that bricks were continually falling into the road and were a source of danger to pedestrians and others. Accused, who did not appear in person but sent a representative, was fined $50.

    A contractor was charged with allowing his men to sing and shout whilst working at the Rifle Range Road, after being repeatedly cautioned. Sergeant Gibson stated that he had heard them quite 500 yards away, and that the man had been fined $$25 on a former occasion for a similar offence. The Court now fined him $50.

   A man aged 53 was accused of abducting a girl aged 16 from the care of her guardian. Accused met the girl coming out of the mill where she was employed, and requested to accompany her to home, but instead of doing so he took her to his own house where he kept her for a month and attempted to sell her to another man for $14. This man, however, detected something wrong with the document of sale#, and reported the matter. Accused was give n 500 blows and six months' imprisonment.

   The gambler who was sentenced on Monday to 500 blows and a year's imprisonment was again brought before the Court. Inspector Ramsay stated that he did not believe the man had received the 500 blows. Prisoner was examined and it was found that he had not. Mr. Ramsay stated that this was frequently the case  as some prisoners who were supposed to have had 200 or 300 blows, upon examination were found to have scarcely any. The assessor said he did not see why vengeance should be inflicted on the prisoner but thought that the runner should be punished with 300 blows. This the Court decided upon. Sentence upon the runner was to be carried out tomorrow morning.

   On Friday (19th) before Mr. Weng (Magistrate), and Mr. S. F. Mayers (British Assessor), Mr. J. W. Gaude charged two men with stealing a case of whisky.  One of the men, Mr. Gaude said, had stolen a case of gin. The case of whisky had been sold for $3, out of which one man received $1.30 the other $1.70. The case was adjourned till next Monday morning.

   Three men were accused of stealing a copper valve from the Chinese steamer Haichi, while she was at the Shanghai Engineering Co.'s Dock. Mr. George, who described himself as the dockmaster there, said the theft occurred while one of the workmen had gone to fetch an iron bolt. Witness heard that the valve was about to be sold in the city and upon enquiries had the three men arrested when they were about to dispose of it. The value was about $78. Accused were sentenced to 200 blows and two months' imprisonment each.

   A man and women were charged will ill-treating a child of seven years by throwing boiling water over her and assaulting her during the past month, thereby causing the child's death. Sergeant Aiers stated that the child had been examined by a Chinese doctor after death, who had expressed his opinion that the child had died from starvation, in addition to the other charges. The child had been purchased about six months ago by the defendants and had been ailing from about the 22nd of last month. The defendants had denied to him the day before, that a doctor had been called in to see the child. Defendants, before the Court, said they had called a female doctor in. Sergeant Aiers stated the child was given food in his presence and ate it quite eagerly just before it died. The body was at defendants' house. The child had died when about to be moved to the hospital. The case was adjourned until Monday for the evidence of the doctor.

   The case in which an official had established a likin office within the settlement and which was first tried last October again came before the Court for judgment. Bail of Tls. 1,000 had been given defendant, who persisted in stating the office was not a likin office. After some discussion the Court decided to fine defendant $600, to be deducted from the $1,400 bail; $400 of the fine to be given to the Shantung Road Hospital and $200 to the Sinza Refuge, all the documents, placards, etc., seized by the police to be returned to the defendant.

   Two men, one totally blind, were accused of stealing a quantity of eggs and clothing from a pawnshop. Inspector Wilson stated that the blind prisoner had been convicted no less than fifteen times, serving sentences, once for six months and once for twelve months, for burglary. The case was left to the Court.

   On Monday morning (22nd) before Mr. Weng (Magistrate) and Mr. S. F. Mayers (British Assessor), the case adjourned from last Friday in reference to cruelty to a child was again brought before the Court. The native female doctor who defendants had stated had attended the child appeared. Chief Inspector Howard prosecuted on behalf of the police. Sergt. Aiers stated that the case had been reported in the first instance by a native living in the vicinity to Mr. Bland, who had communicated with the police. The man in the case, it was learned on Saturday was wanted by the City magistrate in conjunction with another nit yet apprehended, for forging certain Customs House chops, and for the arrest of each of whom a reward of $250 was offered.  A native doctor at the Shantung Road Hospital confirmed what had been before stated about the child being starved and covered with sores. Chief Inspector Howard pressed for exemplary punishment as the occurrence had taken place in the settlement. The three culprits were each sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

   The men who were accused last week of damaging and stealing a portion of a cable in the Huangpu River, were again bought up. Mr. Ballard, controller of the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company's lines here said that the cost of the portion of cable stolen amounted to about $400, but the cost of repairing it would probably be about $3,000, besides which there was the inconvenience of no communication. The sum realised by the culprits would be only trifling but the mischief caused was enormous. The Assessor remarked that one of the men confessed. The principal was given 500 blows and twelve months' imprisonment; his accomplice three months; an d the two receivers six months each. 

   Three men were accused by M. Max Wolff of receiving goods stolen from his shop in the Honan Road.  A representative of Mr. Wolff stated the thieving had been going on for the space of twelve months and they had lost about $2,000. Only $15 worth of goods had been recovered. An old coolie had, with the assistance of a little girl aged nine, handed the goods to the thieves and other men. Mr., Wolff did not prosecute the girl, as he thought she was too young and had been compelled to perform her share of the work. The coolie had disappeared. The assessor remarked that the child had evidently learned her lesson well, and that only a small quantity had been traced to two of the men. Mr. Wolff's representative stated he had seen a number of empty bottles of perfume in the shop of one of the men which he knew had come from the store and could bring a witness besides himself to prove it. The case was adjourned until next Saturday morning.

   Mr. Denegri complained about the treatment of the female employees at the filature on the Jessfield Road near St. John's College by men in the Jessfield village. He said that when the women left the mill at 7 in the evening they were continually being assaulted. The men at the mill whose business it was to look after the women had also been assaulted. The Magistrate said he would communicate with the City Magistrate on the matter.

   On Tuesday (23rd) before Mr. Weng (Magistrate) and Dr. Barchet (American Assessor), a boatman was charged with stealing a mandarin house-boat from the Soochow Creek. It appeared that the man was left in charge of the boat whilst the crew, of whom he was one, went ashore. Accused slipped away by himself with the boat and fetched up at the Arsenal. Then he paid a visit to French Town and pawned 116 articles of silk and satin clothing. The boat and clothing were valued at about $5,000. Accused, in Court, pleaded stupidity and could not understand. The boat was reported missing on the 19h instant and was captured twelve hours afterwards by the detectives. The owners of the boat appeared and their property was handed over to them.  A representative of the pawnbroker who had taken the goods, wished to have his money returned, but the Court refused on the ground that the pawnbroker had no business to accept the articles from a man of the accused's appearance without making enquiries. Accused was ordered 2,000 blows with the small bamboo and a year's imprisonment.

   Mr, R. H. Hunt, of the Standard Oil Company, prosecuted three men who the River Police stated they had seen on a boat filling tins with Royal Dutch Oil and soldering the tins with the stamp of the Standard Oil Co. The police constable said accused hurriedly disappeared when he put in an appearance and upon investigation he found what they were doing. The culprits were a broker, tinsmith and a boatman.  The broker said he was employed to do the work by another man. The case was adjourned until tomorrow morning for the appearance of the principal.

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