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Colonial Cases

Matsukawa and Seikai, 1913


Matsukawa and Seikai

Japanese Consular Court, Shanghai
Yamamoto, 14 June 1913
Source: The Straits Times, 26 June 1913





   Two Japanese subjects were brought up before their Consular Court, constituted by Mr. D. Yamamoto, Vice-Consul General, at Shanghai, on June 14, on the serious charge of having in the month of June had bombs in their possession or under their control, enabling them or others to cause damage to life and property.   The first accused is a furniture dealer named Matsukawa whose premises are situated in the North Szechuen Road Extension beyond Range Road, and the second occupied the position of a go-between, being a broker named Seikai.  The shop of the first named has for some time past been the object of police suspicion and it was the result of careful investigation that the arrests were made.  The shop was then searched but no bombs were found in it although there was a quantity of material for the making of such goods.

   The Criminal Investigation Department have had the matter in hand for some time, says the Shanghai Mercury, and they are to be congratulated on the way in which the work of detection was gone about.  Evidence was given in the court by one of the Central Station employees who said he went to the premises of the accused on several occasions.  He had first approached the broker Seikai with whom he had several interviews on the matter of securing bombs.  Seikai told him he could arrange the matter but he did not want the witness to know the principal.  Witness insisted on this, however, and ultimately he was taken to the first accused's shop.  Terms were discussed and the dealer agreed to supply a hundred bombs at $13 each within a week.  On a return visit the witness was given one bomb as a sample.  This he carried off and left in the hands of the Central Station authorities.  It was small, cylindrical in form, and on top was a cap held in position by a spiral spring round a metal road.  It is supposed that when struck, by being thrown or otherwise, this cap actuated the detonator which in turn exploded the bomb, the outer covering of which was brass.

   It is generally believed that the recent bomb outages of Peking and Hangchow have originated from Shanghai and it is almost certain that "houses" exist for the manufacture of bombs, etc.  The bomb in this case is a small, neatly finished off instrument and has evidently been turned out by skilled workmen.  The statement that the accused agreed to the completion of a hundred bombs in a week indicates a large number of employees.  The whole matter was conducted in a properly business like way, as after the dealer thought he had procured a profitable customer he insisted on $100 cash down before he commenced work.  A written agreement was drawn up and signed by all the parties, the price being fixed at $13 each bomb or a balance to be paid of $1,200.  It is understood that if a prima facie case is made out the two accused may be sent to Japan for trial.

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