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Colonial Cases

Ota, 1920



Japanese Consular Court, Soochow
2 May 1920
Source: The Canton Times, 15 May 1920


Japanese Consular Law.


Nanking, May 2. - According to the official report of the Chinese officials at Soochow to military governor Li Shun, the Japanese clerk, Ota (?), who killed the Chinese soldier Ha Chung-han at a tea shop in Huchiu last month was tried by the Japanese consul at Soochow last week and declared "Not guilty" on the ground that the incident was caused by his ignorance and carelessness and that it was not deliberate murder.  Hence the perpetrator, Ota, after the payment of nine hundred Yen as fine in accordance with Japanese laws, was released by the Court and permitted to return to his work in Shanghai.  If the prisoner cannot pay the fine of nine hundred yen, then he will be imprisoned for one hundred days.  This is said to be the heaviest penalty the Japanese consular court can inflict upon as Japanese subject for the killing of a Chinese, but this slight punishment has caused wide dissatisfaction among the Chinese in this province especially in Soochow and the radical element are talking about retaliation.

   But on the other hand, the Chinese foreign commissioner at Soochow reports that with regard to the Chinese demands, the Japanese authorities have signified their willingness to meet the Chinese wishes by the following terms:-

  1. The making of apology by the Japanese consul at Soochow.
  2. The payment of an adequate sum as compensation money to the relatives of the dead soldier [break in paper] probably four or five hundred dollars.
  3. The Japanese [............] will exert their best efforts [.......] prevent any repetition of the incident in future.

   The punishment of the perpetrator Ota has been rejected by the Japanese on the ground that he did not know that the gun was loaded.

   The case will probably be settled in Soochow without referring to Peking. - Asiatic News Agency.


Source: The Canton Times, 21 May 1920

Soochow Murder Case Still Unsettled.


 Nanking, May 4. - With regard to the Soochow case, the Japanese, in reply to the note of the Chinese foreign commissioner at Soochow, says that Chinese officials have no right to interfere with the consular court of Japan and that the perpetrator or murderer of the Chinese soldier Hu Chang-han was fined nine hundred Yen and released because the incident was an accident and not one of deliberate murder as claimed by the Chinese authorities.  The case is still under discussion at Soochow.

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