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Colonial Cases

Minor Cases Hong Kong

North China Herald, 20 July 1889

THE great "Ropes Corner" case in Hongkong ended on the 10th instant in what was virtually a verdict for the defendant, the jury before whom it was tried being Messrs. A. Levy, W. G. Brodie, G. A. Wieler, J. Fowler, E. J. M. Paquin, R. K. Leigh and F. Dodwell.
  The facts of the case are very simple.  On the 16th of January last Mr. Rustomjee, the defendant, sold to Mr. Potts, the plaintiff, 50 shares in the Hongkong Rope Manufacturing Company, Limited, for delivery on the 31st of March at $94.  During February and March the quotations for the shares, whose par value is $50 each, ran up very rapidly, and they were unobtainable on the 31st of March below $200. Mr. Rustomjee gathered that there was a "corner," in which Mr. Potts was concerned, and refused to complete his contract, though he sent out a circular offering to settle at $150 a share.  Mr. Potts seems to have refused this, and brought an action for $5,600, the difference between $94 per share, the price at which he bought, and $200, the nominal value on the 31st of March, plus $6 a share, dividend declared on the 27th of March.
  The case lasted three days, the best legal talent in Hongkong being employed, and after the Acting Chief Justice had summed up, after exhorting the jury in his summing-up that it was not their business to consider the general credit or well-being of Hongkong, but that they were bound to confine their attention to the case before them, the jury, after a deliberation of about a quarter of an hour, returned the following finding by a majority of six to one:-
"1. - We hold the contract valid, as there was no evidence of combination on the 16th January, the date of said contract.
2. - We hold that at some time after this date there was a combination to raise to a fictitious value the price of the Rope shares to which the plaintiff was a party.
3. - It is our opinion that had the influence of the combination not been brought to bear upon the market, the price would not have advanced beyond $100 a share cum dividend. The difference between this and the contract piece we award to the plaintiff, amounting to $300.
  That is to say, all that the jury gave Mr. Potts was the dividend to which he was obviously entitled; and under these circumstances the judge refused to give the plaintiff his costs, which according to the Daly Press will amount to $2,500. The plaintiff is probably now of opinion that the proverb is true that half a loaf is better than no bread.  He was offered by the defendant $150 a share, and he would have been nearly $5.000 richer today, if he had taken the offer.
  We do not propose to discuss the morality or even the expediency of "corners" generally. But there were peculiar features about this one which dictate special notice being taken of it.  The members of it were all past or present employees of the firm of Russell & Co., who are the General Managers of the Hongkong Rope Manufacturing Company and they therefore had, as they admitted in evidence, special knowledge of the position of the company. [Continues.]


North China Herald, 22 November 1889


   A marine court of enquiry into the loss of the Hattie E. Tapley was held at Hongkong on the 12th, at which the following was the finding:-

   We find that the British barque Hattie E. Tapley, official number 83, 663, left Sandakan, North Borneo, on the 2nd October, on a voyage to Hongkong with a cargo of Billian timber and firewood.

   That Robert Malcolm, whose certificate of competency as master is 82,860 of Glasgow, was acting master in the absence of the legal master who was sick in hospital.

   That on the night of the 1st November while working towards Hongkong the ship was struck on the N.E. extremity of Chek Wan in the Sha-mun group, where she was eventually abandoned.

    Having heard and carefully considered the evidence before the court, we are of opinion that the ship was not properly manned, seeing that there was no certificated officer on board besides the acting master.

   That she was not supplied with adequate sailing directions.

   We are further of opinion that the loss of the ship was brought about through a grave error of judgment on the part of the acting master in attempting to pass to the windward of the Sha-mun group with a light wind and a ship which he knew to be a bad sailer, and having made up his mind to adopt this course, in not having put all possible sail on the ship, and above all in not having remained on deck himself.

   It appears that when the casualty was inevitable, the acting master did all in power to avert it, and taking all the circumstances into consideration we do not consider it necessary to deal with his certificate and therefore return it to him.


Colonial Times (Hobart), Wednesday 10 July 1844 (4)


(From the Sydney Herald, June 19.)

The intelligence from China, received via Singapore, is to the 9th March. ...

The opening of a criminal and Admiralty Court at Hong Kong took place on Monday, 4th March.  The Grand Jury was composed of gentlemen of Hong Kong, and from Canton and Macau. The proceedings were opened by an address to the Grand Jury by his Excellency Sir Henry Pottinger, Governor of Hong Kong. 

   There were two cases brought before the Grand Jury, one a case of murder against a Manilla seaman, who was subsequently found guilty of murdering the mate of the Harlequin schooner, to which he belonged, and another on a charge of manslaughter against a marine belonging to H.M.S. Driver, the result of which is not stated. 

   The fact of so few cases being brought before the Jury, at a time when robberies attended with violence were committed, was accounted for by the summary jurisdiction vested in the justiciary powers.

[See also Southern Australian (Adelaide), Friday 19 July 1844 (3); quoting the Canton Press. Also Launceston Advertiser, Friday 9 August 1844 (4)]


Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas.), Tuesday 11 February 1845 (3)

The first Court was formally opened on the 1st of October last, and adjourned to the following day for the trial of criminal cases.  We find no report of them beyond the following editorial remarks in the Friend of China of the 5th October: ---

  " ...  We would notice the first case, as being also the first time criminals have been legally tried by a jury in China.  We set aside the dramatic affair got up by the ex-Governor last winter, where he sentenced one poor wretch to death, though, we are happy to say, the contemplated act of judicial murder has not been perpetrated. The first case brought before an English jury in China was one of abduction.  The prisoners (husband and wife), through false pretences, induced two young woman to enter their boat.  After they embarked they were bound and carried up the Canton River, where they were sold for 90 dollars each.  Their friends in Hong Kong, hearing where they were, went to Canton and paid 220 dollars for their ransom.  After their return the prisoners also came back, when they were given in charge of the police.  The evidence was perfectly clear.  Sentence, 18 months' imprisonment; the male to be kept at hard labour, and exposed in the market place once a month. 

   As a matter of course, the business of the Court was carried on with that decorum which ever characterises a British Court of Justice.  There was no opportunity for any display of eloquence, and, with very good taste, none was attempted, either by the Chief Justice or Attorney-General.  His Honor read over the evidence to the jury, who could not do otherwise than return a verdict of guilty.  It was with much pleasure we heard the Attorney-General explain to the culprits that the English laws were not laws of vengeance; they were intended to protect the innocent by the punishment of guilt - not to punish guilt from mere vindictive feelings.  We anticipate that, now the laws are in active operation, and a few severe examples are likely to be made, the Chinese will hold them in greater regard, and crime will decrease."


The Australian (Sydney), Monday 20 January 1845 (3)


We regret to hear that Serjeant Croslie, the Hospital Serjeant of the [98]th regiment was murdered on Monday morning last, at Chuck-choo, in a most cold blooded and deliberate manner by one of the Indian followers of the Regiment.  It appears the culprit is a very bad character, and that the deceased had occasion to confine him for drunkenness the day before the murder.  On Monday morning whilst the Serjeant was superintending some work about the Hospital, the wretch, who was employed under him, drew a knife, and stabbed him in the neck, cutting completely through the jugular vein.  Notwithstanding the prompt attendance of the Surgeon, the poor fellow expired of hemorrhage within 15 minutes after the infliction of the wound, it being beyond the art of man to stop the bleeding.  We are told the handle of the knife used by the murderer, was carefully bound round with cloth, obviously for the purpose of making his stroke sure.  This circumstance cannot fail to give the act an unquestionable character. --- The Friend of China, and Hong Kong Gazette, Sept., 4th 1844.


South Australian Register (Adelaide), Wednesday 14 January 1846 (3)


An atrocious murder has been committed at Hong Kong on the wife of a blacksmith named Clarke, residing a short distance from the town.  It appears that on his return to his home about 10 o'clock, he found his wife lying on a couch, and as she did not immediately awake he became alarmed, and on examination found that her throat had been cut and several other wounds inflicted with a sharp instrument.  Several boxes had been rifled, and three Chinese in his employ had absconded.  Application had been made to the Chinese authorities to give up the parties, and there were circumstances which were likely top lead to a conviction of the offenders.

The Straits Times, 11 March 1851


HONGKONG. - Nothing of importance has occurred during the month, beyond ... and the introduction of a new and dangerous machinery into the Supreme Criminal Court. ....

   A recent, and, as we hold unconstitutional Ordinance, has been passed by the Colonial Office's Legislative Council, according to which the depositions taken before the Magistrate may be received as evidence in the absence of witnesses at the trial.  Under this law a man was brought before the Court on Monday last; but as at least one of the jurymen would not convict upon such evidence, or without having the witnesses examined in his presence, after being locked up for several hours, they were dismissed; and next morning the prisoner was again tried on the same evidence and by a different jury, which was more easily satisfied, and brought in a verdict of guilty, upon which sentence of fifteen years' transportation was pronounced.  The law is a very dangerous one, and will, if adhered to, be productive of evils far greater than any it was meant to remedy.


The North China Herald, 21 Jan 1875

   The Mail says:- His Honour Mr. Justice Snowden was engaged for a good part of a day in his investigation of an interpleader suit of Ho Asam v. Leung Shing.  The action arose in connection with the discovery and rising of the launch Early Bird. The plaintiff, while raising the barque Corea, discovered the launch first, and had the place buoyed.  Meantime the defendant entered into a contract with Messrs. Hook & Co., to raise her for $500.  The plaintiff put in a claim as original salvor, and Messrs. Hook & Co., paid the amount in dispute into Court.  After hearing a deal of evidence, judgment was given in favour if plaintiff for $250; the remaining sum was awarded to the defendant, the subsequent salvor, who finally raised her.


The North China Herald, 28 January 1875


   A CRIMINAL charge has been brought against a Chinese comopradore in  the Hongkong Police Court, which forms a suitable instanced of the dangers which may and do attach to the faulty system of collecting accounts so generally in vogue throughout the open ports as well as at Hongkong. [Editorial on the problems of the system.]

[Since the  foregoing was written, we have learnt that the defaulting collector had pleaded guilty and been sentenced to a year's imprisonment with hard labour.]


The North China Herald, 28 January 1875


At the Criminal Sessions, King Ling Woo, comprador at the Daily Press , pleaded guilty to the embezzlement of $695.70, and was sentenced to one year's imprisonment with hard labour.  His employer, Mr. Bell, recommended him to the mercy of the Court on account of his long service and previous good character; and to that recommendation, Justice Snowden, in passing  sentence, said great weight had been given.


The North China Herald, 18 March 1875


  A curious case has been tried before the Hongkong Court, arising out of the late Macau coolie trade.  A Dr. Fabregas, who was interested in the coolie trade, sued Mr. Espantoso, who was also actively engaged, for $19,500.  In the halcyon days of the trade, there used to be an Emigration Agents' Association, in which each member deposited $25,000.  Fabregas wished to retire, and Espantoso became responsible for the remainder, but has never paid it; $7,500 money lent, made up the total claim.  The jury gave a verdict in favour of plaintiff.  The Hongkong Times regrets that, because two Macau coolie-brokers squabble over the terms of their agreement, the aid of a British Court should be invoked in settling their disputes.


The North China Herald, 1 April 1875


In the case Fabregas v. Espantoso, a rule has been granted, calling on the Plaintiff to show cause why the damages should not be reduced to $12,000, or why there should not be a new trial.


A Chinaman who was summoned for having dirty premises, pleaded that it was Sunday, and he could not think of making anyone work on a day that foreigners so much respect!  He was fined $10.


Daily Alta California, 30 June 1875


From the files of the Hongkong Press to June 5th, we make up the following summary:-

   On the 24th ult. an important case was heard before Geo. F. Seward, Esq., U. S. Consul-General, and Messrs. Talbot Olyphant and John Thorne, Assessors,  The plaintiff, F. B. H. Jenkins, sued Mr. George B. Glover, Commissioner of Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs at this port, to recover Tls. 6687, the alleged contract price of 275 revolving rifles and 140,000 cartridges.  Plaintiff alleged that the contract was made by him with a duly authorized officer of the Chinese Government, and that the arms were imported under a special permit from the Superintendent of Customs at Shanghai, but that on their arrival the agent of the said officer refused to take them.  In April last, the plaintiff offered the arms and ammunition for sale by public auction, but the defendant wads alleged to have stopped the sale, as being illegal and in violation  of the Treaty between the United States and china, signed on the 18th of June, 1858,

   The hearing was confined to the question, raised by Mr. Wainwright, whether the defendant, as being a servant of the Chinese Government, and acting under its authority, was amenable to a consular Court.  Mr. Eames, for the plaintiff, contended that he was amenable, inasmuch as it was not shown that he had not acted outside his instructions, and, further, that the arms, having been legally imported to the order of the Chinese Government, though afterward refused by its officers, became disposable in the same way as ordinary merchandise.  The Court reserved judgment.


The North China Herald, 2 March 1876


   The case of Whittall and another v. Benecke, Souchay & Co., has been at last brought to a termination.  An elaborate judgment was delivered by both Sir John Smale and Mr. Justice Snowden on the 16th ult. 

   The Court declares that the eight impeached deeds are fraudulent preferences, and that they are void as against the plaintiffs. The trustees under the trust deed of April 19th, 1875, and that all the eight deeds and the title deeds relating to the several properties must be given up to the plaintiffs.


The North China Herald, 28 December 1876



(Chinas Mail.)

   It may reasonably be expected that the Chinamen who were each sentenced at the Supreme Court on 18th inst., to five years' penal servitude and to be publicly whipped three times, will have their belief in the protective influence of their Mandarins within British territory very considerably lessened.  The case altogether disclosed a somewhat remarkable state of affairs.

   It seems that on the evening of the 25th November last the prosecutor's boat was boarded off Belcher's Bay by two of the prisoners and others, who ransacked the boat and took away fifteen balls of opium.  The prisoners then returned to Yowmahtee followed by the prosecutor's boat, and subsequently the police, acting upon information received, found a portion of the opium concealed in a matshed at Tsim-sah-tsui, and the remainder buried in a garden at the same place.  There may perhaps be nothing unusual in the overhauling of a boat in this manner within Hongkong waters, but in the defence set up we are at all events favoured with one or two interesting points.

      The prisoners pleaded that they were in the employ of a mandarin named Wong, and has d seized the opium, which was being smuggled, under his directions.  They also added that the prosecutor's boat was of Lantao and out of Hongkong waters when seized.  Mandarin Wong seems to be a gentleman lacking the courage of his position, for, according to the prisoners' statements, he was in the garden at the time the opium was discovered there by the police, and ran away.  We were under an impression that mandarins were always too dignified to run.  Upon this defence being put forward, the enquiry naturally arose how was it that the mandarin had condescended to hide one portion of the opium and bury the other.  But the prisoners proved themselves quite equal to the occasion.  The answer was that part of it had been concealed at the request of the mandarin's son, who wished to deceive his father as to the quantity of opium seized and retain the seven balls concealed in the garden for his own particular ends. A case of "wheels within wheels," like the birdcage within the prison.

   The Jury, however, declined, after some remarks from the chief Justice, to accept the prisoner's story as a defence to the prosecution, and in spite of the allegation of the prisoners that they were clothed in the official garb of the Hoppo of Canton at the time they boarded the boat, found them guilty of a common robbery of the opium.  The sentences were severe ones, but it is hoped that they will not be without some beneficial results to others as well as to the  recipients.

   If the statements of the prisoners are to receive any credence at all, Mandarin Wong had established quite a Chinese Customs' station at Kowloon; it was said he was there three days himself watching an opportunity for pouncing down on prosecutor's opium, and firearms as well as the spoil were found on the spot.  Unless a stop had been put to the proceedings, Mandarin Wong might have ventured after a while to transfer his establishment to the other side of the water. 


The North China Herald, 28 April 1877


Hongkong, 17th April 1877

Before C. MAY, First Police Magistrate, H. G. THOMSETT, R.N., Harbour-Master.  T. G. LINSTEAD, Unofficial Justice of the Peace.  ROBERT McMURDO, Government Marine Surveyor. E. M. EDMONDS, R.N.R., Commanding P & O. S. N. Co.'s ship "Malacca."

Re the loss of the "Naworth Castle."

   The following is the finding of the Court:-

   We find that the British barque Naworth Castle, official number v58,116, 354 tons, of Sunderland, left Swatow in China on the 19th February last, with a cargo of sugar, bound to Falmouth, England, for orders; and that the vessel was totally lost on the Bombay Shoal, Paracells Group, China Sea, at about 0.15 a.m., of the 15th February.  The log book, charts, and all other papers connected with the navigation of the ship having been lost, the Court is unable to form an opinion as to the cause of this casualty, beyond that in two and a half days the ship was set about 100 miles to the westward of what was supposed to be her position.

   We find that the master, Henry Phillip Weppner, was washed overboard and drowned soon after the vessel struck, and that a seaman named William Scott was also drowned in endeavouring to swim to a boat from the ship.  The remainder of the crew were taken on board a Chinese junk from the boat into which they had got, and were ultimately landed at or near Leong Soy on the S.E. side of the Island of Hainan, when they were transferred to the recently opened port oven Hoi-how and from thence sent to Hongkong by the British Consul.  [Landing previously reported in NCH.]


The North China Herald, 11 April 1878



Shanghai, 5th April.

Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq.


Garnishee Summons.

   Plaintiff was formerly captain of the G. T. Ray, and had obtained a judgment against Eagan, who was a seaman on board, for the return of $24.49, amount of wages overpaid.  The judgment had not been complied with, and the mate of the vessel, Lawrence Fraser, was now summoned, as garnishee (or third person in whose hands the money of another is attached,) to explain what he had done with $100 known to have been entrusted to him by Eagan.

   FRASER, in reply to questions, said Eagan came to him on board the g. T. Ray and handed to him $100 to take care of for him.  He believed it was on the same day the ship was paid off, the 20th March.  Eagan came to him for some of the money at different times.  The first time he got $30, next day $10, then $5, and so on, in $10 and $5 at a time, until the 30th march, when he gave Eagan the last of it, $20.  He (Fraser) kept no account, but that was the way Eagan had drawn the money.  When Eagan drew the last $20 he said he was going to pay the captain what was sue to him.  At the same time he (Fraser) received the $100 from Eagan, he told Captain Fischer of it, and advised him to look after Eagan.  Captain Fischer had told him what Eagan owed.  If Captain Fischer had given him a hint, he could have held the money for him.

   Captain FISCHER said he thought a summons was the proper course, and when Fraser told him he had received Eagan's money, the summons had been issued.

   His HONOUR asked if Captain Fischer had any reason to doubt the mate's statement?

   Captain FISCHER replied not in the slightest - he believed all he had said.

   His HONOUR - Then if he has not any of Eagan's money, you cannot get any from him, and I can do nothing for you in the matter.  If Eagan ships again, and receives an advance, you may, if you are sharp enough, get it.

   Captain FISCHER said he had other affairs to look after which would take up all his time, and therefore supposed he must lose the money.

   It was stated that Eagan was now living in the Sailors' Home, having paid the guarantee for his maintenance there.

6th April.


   This was a claim for $25, due on an I.O.U.

   Defendant did not appear; but it was explained by the Usher that he had been to the office, admitted his indebtedness, and said he should not appear in Court.

   Plaintiff said he supplied defendant with a broach and set of ear-rings to the amount of the claim, and received the I.O.U. now produced, defendant promising payment in a few days.  He had not got the money.  Defendant was out of employment.

   His HONOUR gave judgment for the amount with costs, but told defendant he did not know when he would get his money, as defendant was out of employment and had no money on hand.


The North China Herald,, 20 April 1878


Shanghai, 8th April.

Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq.


   Plaintiff sued, through his attorney, G. W. Davis, to recover $24, balance of account as per promissory note produced.

   Defendant did not appear, but the Usher proved personal service of the summons.

   Judgment for plaintiff, with costs.

15th April.


   Plaintiff claimed Tls. 15 for damage to a trap and $3 hire of the same vehicle, on the 7th February, 1876.

   Defendant admitted sending for the vehicle on the day named, but said it was for another person.

   His HONOUR deprecated the length of time permitted to elapse before bringing the action, and  said such actions should be brought as soon as possible after the alleged occurrences, when the circumstances were fresh in memory, and witnesses, who might have gone away in the interval, could be called.

   Plaintiff said the delay had been caused by defendant having given him to understand that the carriage was hired for the chief engineer of the steamer Galley of Lorne.  That vessel had only recently returned to Shanghai, and as he (plaintiff) could not get his money he issued the summons against the present defendant.  At the time of the accident, defendant broke his collar bone and was for some weeks in hospital.  He then asked for the matter to be allowed to stand over till the return of the Galley of Lorne.

   Defendant now said he never admitted his liability, nor had he ever been asked g=for payment by plaintiff.  The gentleman alluded to never belonged to the Galley of Lorne but to the Cheops; and he (defendant) was surprised to receive the bill.

   His HONOUR said plaintiff had better be sworn.

   Plaintiff, sworn, deposed - On the 7th February, 1876, defendant wrote to me for a trap.  A pony and gig were sent to his place. (Produced book in which order was entered.) I entered the order myself in the book.  The trap was returned to me the same night, broken, and carried by coolies.  The pony came home by itself.  I have recently applied to defendant for payment. (Plaintiff then repeated the circumstances attending the accident, as above give.)  I gave him intimation by letter of the amount of damage done.  Defendant did not reply.  When he came out of hospital, I spoke to him again about payment.  He asked me to wait till the Galley of Lorne came back.  I told him the return of the steamer had nothing to do with me.  I did not take steps against defendant before, because he assured me he would see the chief engineer of the Galley of Lorne (who I understand had been with him) and get him to pay the money.  As soon as I heard the Galley of Lorne had returned, I put the matter in Mr.  Schmidt's hands.  He came back, and said defendant had referred him to another Mr. Kennedy.

   Defendant, s worn, deposed - I sent for a carriage  from plaintiff's stables for Mr. Anderson's use, to be sent to my place, the City Bowling saloon.  The carriage came at 2.20 p.m., and we drove to Bubbling Wells Cottage, then to the Hermitage, and afterwards to Au Chalet.  I had to be back by five o'clock, and got into the trap ready to start.  Mr. Anderson was talking to some people at the house, and I asked him to come away.  I had not got the reins - they were in the cleat.  The mafoo no doubt thought I told him to go, for he whipped the blanket off the pony and let go his head.  The pony suddenly started, the trap was overturned, and my collar-bone broken. The pony broke away and galloped off.  I can swear the carriage was not broken.

   I stopped at plaintiff's house some weeks in July and August the same year, and during that time the Cheops returned to Shanghai.  I went to see Mr. Anderson about the matter, but the ship had to leave again suddenly, and I suppose he had no time to see plaintiff.  While I was at plaintiff's house, he did not ask me to pay, but said it was no doubt the mafoo's fault, and he would discharge him for it.  Plaintiff has never applied to me personally for the money.

   Plaintiff said he had repeatedly applied to defendant for payment, and he had as repeatedly admitted his responsibility.  He also said defendant was wrong in his statements that the mafoo was dismissed and the carriage not broken, as he (plaintiff) could prove.  He was also positive that the Galley of Lorne was the steamer named by defendant, and not the Cheops.

   His HONOUR, who was at considerable pains to get at the real facts of the case, said it appeared that defendant ordered the vehicle, and would therefore have to pay the $3 charged for hire; but there would be no order as to the amount claimed for damage.  The plaintiff had produced no evidence as to how the damage was caused, and without evidence of negligence, the defendant could not be held responsible.  The plaintiff should have brought his action sooner, when he would have had the evidence of the mafoo.  There would be no costs.


   Plaintiff, a houseboy, sued his late master for $8.35, wages and money expended.

   Defendant admitted his liability for the wages, but said plaintiff had not applied to him for payment, although told to come on the regularly, the 8th of the month, when he would be paid.  Plaintiff had been in his service sixteen months, and had always been treated kindly; but on the 1st instant he was found using a saucepan to prepare food which he had been forbidden to use, and because he was spoken to about it he left the house.  He called on the 2nd inst. for his wages, and was told to come on the proper day, but he did not come again.

   Plaintiff said he left because his master beat him. (This was  denied by the defendant.)  He admitted that he had always been paid his wages on the 8th of the month.

   Defendant having admitted that the wages were due, though he said he knew nothing about the money alleged to have been expended, the case resolved itself into a question of costs only.

   His HONOUR entered judgment for the amount claimed, but without costs, saying plaintiff ought not to have left a service in which he had been so long, in such a manner.


The North China Herald, 25 May 1878



Shanghai, 20th May.

Before C. F.  R. ALLEN, Esq., Vice-Consul.



   These were three separate actions against Captain Forrest, the master of the barque G. T. Ray, which sailed for New York a week ago, and had to put back owing to a disturbance on board and the mate and seven of the crew refusing to proceed to sea.'

   The matter was first investigated in the Police Court, when Joseph Barrett, the mate, was sent to gaol for one month, and seven of the crew for a week each; while Captain Forrest, on the other hand, was fined $6 for assaulting two of the sailors named Purdy and Moody.  The costs of each of these different cases followed the result.

   Captain Forrest then asked for an order for the mate and the men to pay the costs of bringing the vessel back to port and of her detention; but his Worship refused the application.  Captain Forrest, then it appears, stopped the wages due to the mate and Hugh Hughson and George Stone, who were the only men on board who had much money coming to them.  These men now sued the captain for their wages, and it was agreed that the three cases should be heard together.

   Captain FORREST now submitted a memorandum of the expenses, which amounted altogether to about $600, including $35 advanced to two of the crew - Moody and Purdy, $3 sampan hire, 6 days' demurrahge at $40 a day; Tls. 65 for pilotage, and Tls. 120 for towage.

   His HONOUR struck out the items of $35 advanced and the $3 for sampan hire; and reduced the charge of $4-0 a day for demurrage to 415 a  day, allowing the pilotage and towage in full.  The total amount  allowed was $344.12, of which his Honour decided that the Captain was to pay half, namely, $172.6, and that the other half was to be deducted from the wages due to the mate, Hughson and Stone, in the following proportions, calculated in Sterling - £17.11.2 to be paid by Joseph Barrett, the mate; and £8.15.7 each by Hughson and Stone, with the costs of the Court divided among the same three.


The North China Herald, 29 June 1878


Shanghai, 21st June.

Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq.


   Defendant is fourth engineer of the steamer Galley or Lorne, and he was sued by the plaintiff, who lives in Hongkew, to recover the sum of $75, due for board and lodging.

   Defendant admitted his indebtedness, and explained that when the debt was incurred he was out of employment.  He had now no money, but would pay as soon as he was able to.

   Judgment was entered for the amount claimed with costs.


The North China Herald, 10 August 1878



Shanghai, 5th August.

Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq.


   This was an action to recover Tls. 100, which had been paid to the defendants as bargain money.

   Plaintiff presented a written statement to his Honour, setting forth that on the 15th April, 1878, he asked Han-kee to go to Messrs. Gibb, Livingston & Co., to get 100 bales of cotton yarn for a Chinese merchant.  Han-kee went t accordingly, and paid Tls. 100 to the defendants as bargain money, deceiving a contract note in return.  The contract was dated 15th April, and was to the effect that Messrs. Gibb, Livingston & Co. sold to Han-kee 10 bales of cotton yard to arrive in Shanghai 50 days from date or the contract was to be cancelled.  The cotton yarn, according to the plaintiff's statement, was to be delivered on the 3rd June, which was the expiration of the fifty days, and that on that day he went and asked about it, and was informed that it had not arrived.  In consequence he considered the contract cancelled, and asked Han-kee to return him the Tls. 100 bargain money, which he refused to do.  Plaintiff then entered an action against him  on the Mixed Court, when he was told by Chen, the Chinese magistrate, and Mr. Allen, the British Assessor, that he had no right to sue Han-kee because the bargain money was kept by Messrs. Gibb, Livingston & Co., against whom he mist enter an action in the Supreme Court to recover the same.

   Mr. McLeod, who represented the defendants, said the plaintiff was not known in the transaction at all; they had acted entirely with Han-kee, who was a broker, and gave them to understand that he acted for a Chinese principal who had since closed his hong in Shanghai and gone to Canton. Defendants had never seen the plaintiff at all, and they denied that he had ever applied to them to take delivery of the goods.  Moreover, he pointed out that the bargain money, which alone completed the contract, was not paid until the 25th April; and that it was from that date, therefore, that he maintained the fifty days for delivery were to be reckoned.

   On the 3rd June, however, they had 60 bales of cotton yarn in their godown ready to deliver, but he was told plaintiff had no money to pay for them.  The 4th of June was a Customs holiday, and on the morning of the 5th the steamer arrived having other cotton yarn on board, and then plaintiff could have had the whole 100 bales.

   Plaintiff, in answer to his Honour, admitted that he had not seen the defendants in reference to the contact.  The contract was made by Han-kee, and he had not brought him to the court.  He did not think Han-kee would attend the court in his behalf, because he had proceeded against him in the Mixed Court.

   His HONOUR, after devoting considerable time to the investigation of the matter, pointed out to the plaintiff  that he was not entitled to sue under the contract produced; it was a contract between Han-kee and Messrs. Gibb, Livingston & Co.., and nobody else - plaintiff could not sue the defendants neither could the defendants due the plaintiff.

   Mr. McLEOD intimated that his firm did not wish to keep the money if they were not entitled to it, but Han kee had told him himself that the money was sacrificed.

   His HONOUR told the plaintiff what Mr. McLeod had said, and told him he was to look to Hankee for his money, and Hankee, if he liked, could sue the defendants under the contract produced.


The North China Herald, 24 October 1878


Shanghai, 16th Oct.

Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq.


   This was an action to recover $24, due for balance of wages.

   Defendant, who is Captain of the steamer Chefoo, in answer to his Honour, explained that the plaintiff was his number-one sailor.  On the 30th of last month the steamer was in Shanghai, and he paid plaintiff $70 on account of the monthly wages then due to the sailors, withholding $24 to prevent any of them running away, as the steamer was to leave at daylight the following morning for Swatow and Amoy.  It was customary to do this, and then pay them when they got to Swatow.  Plaintiff deserted from the ship the same night and took five of the sailors with him.  Fortunately substitutes were procured, and the steamer was not delayed.  It was the $24 he withheld that plaintiff now sought to recover.

   Plaintiff admitted the truthfulness of the defendant's statements, with the exception of the allegation that he deserted and took five of the sailors with him.  He alleged that the mate ordered him to leave the ship, and that he went to see the captain about it, but the Captain "made too muchee fightee."

   Defendant said plaintiff came in to his cabin without knocking, and, seeing that he was drunk, he told him to go away but he refused, and he then put him out.  He did not see him again, and wished now to have him arrested for desertion, and he would issue warrants for the apprehension of the other five men.

   His HONOUR told the plaintiff that he could not recover the $24, which would have been paid him if he had not left the ship.  He then explained to the defendant that if he wished to proceed against the men, he would do what he did in nearly all desertion cases, namely, order them to return to the ship and pay the costs.
   Defendant thought that would be no punishment to the men at all, and he wished to punish them.  It was a serious thing for  sailors to run away just before a steamer was expected to leave port.

   His HONOUR said it was some punishment to the men to have to forfeit part of their wages; and if they were brought before him, from what he had heard of the case at present, he should not send them to gaol, but order them to pay the costs and return to the ship and work out their contract.

   Defendant had no desire to get rid of the substitutes he had engaged, and he thought the other men ought to be punished for running away from the ship.

   His HONOUR told him he would order the plaintiff to return to the steamer, and in respect to the other men defendant could take the course he thought best.


   Defendant is an aerated water manufacturer living at Hongkew, and the plaintiff, was was in his service, sued him to recover $28 balance of wages.

   It was simply a question as to how much defendant had paid the plaintiff on account of his wages, and, after going into details, his Honour gave a verdict for the plaintiff for $21 and the costs.


   This was a claim  for $11.15 for 55 days wages at the rate of $10 per month, less $7 paid.

   Defendant  denied his indebtedness.  He explained that the plaintiff in the previous case injured his hand and got the present plaintiff to assist him, and he (defendant) gave him "a cumshaw" of $7.  He never recognised him as a servant, and once told him to go away, but he stayed as the friend of A-cheong.

   Plaintiff  did not deny defendant's statement, but said he expected to be paid his w ages.

   His HONOUR gave a verdict for the defendant,  telling plaintiff he must get his money from his friend.


The North China Herald, 7 November 1878



Shanghai, 31st Oct.

Becontree R. A. MOWAT, Esq.


   Defendant was sued as the Secretary of the Shanghai Washing Company, and plaintiff sought to recover $98.15, for goods sold and delivered.

   Defendant replied that so many different accounts had been presented him by the plaintiff and his friends, that he could not understand the matter at all.  Plaintiff and a friend of his named Bey-yuen were the "head-men" of the Washing Company, and when they gave him one account he deducted claims the Company had against them for losing and destroying things, and there was a balance of $78.8 in their favour, which they agreed to accept, but just at the time he received another complaint about the non-delivery of articles sent to be washed and claiming $24, and he then told them he could not pay the $78.8.  Now, the Chinamen (plaintiff and two fellow-workers) wanted to make the company pay them between two and three hundred dollars, which was an attempted squeeze on their part.

   Plaintiff presented an account of the various articles he had supplied the company, totalling the the amount of his claim.

   Defendant had not seen this account before, and handed in one made out by his Portuguese clerk and compradore, the plaintiff having supplied them with the different items.  He (defendant) said he had had three different accounts, and all varied in the amounts.  Plaintiff and his friends had done all they possibly could to damage the company.  There was a combination among them; and on one occasion they struck work and did nothing for a fortnight; and in consequence of their conduct the Company had lost business.  They had already been paid over $1,000 by the Company, which w as a great deal too much, and they wanted to get more.

   His HONOUR said as far as he could see at present it was a question of accounts between them.  It was not denied that the plaintiff had supplied the articles named in the accounts to the Company, and there was no proof that he had been paid for them; therefore the question seemed to be what was a fair amount for him to be paid?  He questioned the plaintiff and the defendant in referenced to the different prices mentioned in the account, but there was so great a divergence between them that, after a tedious enquiry, His Honour said he would hear what the other case was against Mr. Meller, as the Secretary of the company, and see if they could get on any better with that.


   This was a claim against the Shanghai washing Company for $72.40, alleged to be due for wages.

   Plaintiff said he commenced to work for the company on the 1st July, and finished on the 18th September.  His wages were $12 a month, and he had not been paid anything.  The $72.40, he claimed, included his own wages and also the wages of two other men who had not been paid.

   Defendant sais An-you, the plaintiff in the previous case, who was the headman, had been paid $300 for wages, and had given no account as to how he had disposed of the money, but from what he had heard he did not believe he had paid a cent to any of the other men.

   Plaintiff said of the $300 An-you had received, $150 were paid for w ages for the month of August, and the other $150 were paid for charcoal and things to carry on the business.

   Defendant  said after An-you was paid the $300, all the other men struck work because they had not been paid, and  asked to be paid separately, as they had no confidence in their own men.  The next month he and Mr. B. Clarke, one of the Directors of the Company, paid the wages and there was no bother.

   In answer to his Honour, defendant said plaintiffs in the two cases had been discharged by the company, and that now the work was being  done by a Chinese contractor for so  much a hundred.  Under the new arrangement everything had gone on satisfactorily, and he believed there had not been a single complaint, whereas before there used to be twenty or thirty a day from persons who had either lost their clothes or had them burnt.  Bedsides the $300 An-you had received, he had also been paid $95 for wages.

   AN-YOU admitted this was the case, but explained that it has been paid away to the workmen as defendant's compradore could prove.

   His HONOUR eventually adjourned both cases to Wednesday next for a full statement of accounts to be made out by each party, and for the attendance of the defendant's clerk and compradore.


The North China Herald, 5 December 1878



Shanghai, 30th Nov.

Before G. FRENCH, Esq., Chief Judge.


   Plaintiff sued on behalf of the Taotai to recover 35,791 cash, as the Land tax on lots 159, 714 and 849 on the foreign Settlement of Shanghai.

   Defendant admitted his indebtedness, and explained that he had paid the amount into Court, but objected to pay the costs on the ground that he thought the plaintiff had no cause to take the proceedings, he having   tendered payments which were returned by the plaintiff, who wanted him to pay the tax on two other lots of land which he had sold to Mr. Forbes, who paid the tax when applied to for it.

   Plaintiff ands his shroff denied that defendant had offered to pay the claim.

   It was a question of conflict of testimony, and after a long investigation it was found that, under the Land Regulations, payment was to be in advance.  Defendant thereupon said he had nothing further to say, and His Lordship gave judgment for the amount claimed with costs.


The North China Herald, 19 April 1881


   A court of inquiry assembled at the U.S.  Consulate on the 6th inst. to inquire into the circumstances of the grounding of the American steamer Hainan, Captain James W. Conner, on the 4th March.  The Court was composed of the following members: - Captain W. B. Cobb, American steamer City of Tokio, President; Captain A. A. McCaslin, American steamer Pingon, and Captain H. H. Cunningham, Chinese steamer Mefoo. The following was the finding of the court:-

            That the steamer Hainan was stranded on the morning of the 4th March, 1881, at 2.40 a.m. in Pigmar or Double Hill Point on the island of Hainan.  That every precaution was taken by the master in regard to course, leeway, and currents, but we think there was a slight error in judgment in not having hove the lead, considering the thickness of the weather, although his reckoning by the patent log showed forty miles from the entrance of the Straits.  That the Captain deserves approbation for the prompt manner in which he rescued the vessel from the dangerous situation and brought her in to port.


North China Herald, 22 November 1881



Shanghai, 17th Nov.

Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq.


  This was a claim for balance of account, - $11.

  Mr. Stone, asked if he owed the money, said he did not believe he rightly did owe it, but the claim arose out of the somewhat peculiar arrangement he had made with regard to a certain piece of furniture. He kept a furniture and auction store at Hongkew and in the way of business had had dealings with these people before.  He was told by a gentleman to get him an office desk for $14.  He found that the defendant had a desk but he did not know whether it would suit the party who had commissioned him.  Plaintiff agreed with him (defendant) that the desk should be sent down to his store for his customer to look at, that he would pay the cost of taking it down; that if he sold it he would then pay the plaintiff the price of the desk, if not plaintiff would have to have it removed at his own expense.  He sold the desk for $16 and got as compradore's order dated September 1st for $16, the price he sold it at.  By the 1st of September, however, his customer failed in business and told him he had better take his desk back as he could not get paid for it.  He did so.  Before this time, however, the plaintiff was constantly coming and pestering him and saying he was very much in want of the money and so on, he had paid him $4. He offered to forfeit half the money and let the plaintiff have his desk back again.  This he would not agree to.  He then offered to forfeit all that he had paid on account and send back the desk, thus being $4 or $5 out of pocket by the transaction, but the Chinese would not agree to it.  His note in the plaintiff's possession, dated 25th July, he admitted.

  The plaintiff refused now, in Court, to the case take back the desk even if allowed to pocket the $4.

  The Judge said he was afraid Mr. Stone must pay the amount; the desk was sent for him on approval, as it were, and he sold it to his customer.  Had it been returned the same day as it was sent to Mr. Stone's store the case would have been different.  If Mr. Stone's customer had not paid him that was no reason why the Chinaman should be called upon to take the desk or lie out of the money due him.  What the defendant might have done to save the costs of summons being added to the claim against him, was to have paid some part of the amount and got so a little more time.  If he could not pay $11, he could not pay $14.

  Mr. Stone said times were very bad just now and asked for time.

  An order was eventually made that $7 be paid 1st December, and an equal sum 1st January, finishing the claim and costs of summons.


North China Herald, 29 November 1881



Shanghai, 25th Nov.

  Before Nicholas J. Hannen, Esq., Acting Chief Justice.


  Mr. Hannen, who took his place for the first time on the Bench of the Supreme Court since his appointment to the Acting Chief Justice of China and Japan, prefaced the proceedings of the Court by the following remarks:-

  On this the first occasion of taking my seat in this Court I cannot refrain from saying a few words in reference to the sad death of the late Chief Justice.  He presided here with dignity, courtesy, and kindness; and to those who like myself practiced at the Bar before him, his loss is a very real one, for he was ever considerate towards us, and patient and attentive to our arguments.  Few know the labour which he bestowed upon his duties, and none can estimate how much of pain must have been added to the work by the state of his health.  He has passed away and I feel sure that everyone who knew him must deeply regret his loss and bear him in affectionate remembrance.

  Mr. Myburgh having replied in a few suitable words, the Clerk of the Court read the indictment.

  This case will be remembered as one in which the accused was charged with striking, in the Court House, the Captain of his vessel, who had prosecuted him for refusing duty,  The captain won his case, and an attempt was to be made to put the man on board the ship.  When the captain was rolling up his papers, the sailor struck him a blow on the chest, which knocked him down.

  The Prisoner pleaded guilty, and no jury was empannelled.

  The Judge said this was a very serious case; not only was it a serious case of itself but it was committed in the face of the Court and that made it worse.  He would be sentenced to six months' imprisonment - the sentence to commence the end of that which he was now suffering.  The prisoner was then removed.


The Straits Times, 19 January 1885


(China Mail, 10th January)

   THE following paragraph, taken from a New York exchange, will recall to the minds of older residents a crusade against the irregularities of certain U.S. Consular officials in China, in which this journal rook part.  The civil action referred to was taken against the official bond and sureties, and the ex-Consul appears to have made no defence to the suit.  The result is as follows:-

   A verdict was rendered in the United States Court at Cincinnati Nov. 24, in favour of the United States against David H. Bailey for $39,900, fees collected by Bailey as Consul at Hongkong, China, and not accounted for.  Bailey made no defence.


North China Herald, 3 March 1886

  The Marine Court of Inquiry held at Hongkong on the 19th and 20th February into the circumstances attending the loss of the above steamer found as follows:-
  We find that the steamship Douglas, official number 84,357, Matthew Young, master, whose certificate of competency is No. 32,367, left Amoy at about 5.30 p.n. on the 10th February last, bound for Swatow.
  That at the time of sailing the Douglas was in light trim, only having on board a small quantity of cargo.  That there were on board besides the crew, consisting of Europeans, Chinese, Malays, 64 all told, and 5 European passengers, several Chinse passengers, the exact number of whom we have been unable to determine.
  That after leaving Amoy, safe and proper courses were steered until the High Lamocks' Light was abeam.
  That at about 2.45 a.m. on the 11th February, the ship stranded on the White Rocks and subsequently became a total wreck, and that this was unfortunately attended with a deplorable loss of life.
  That the remaining crew and passengers were rescued by the steamship Haiphong and taken to Swatow.
  We are of opinion that the Master, seeing the state of the weather at the time, and not having verified his position, would have displayed more caution in not attempting to pass between the Higjh Lamocks and the White Rocks, and that having decided to steer between these, he underestimated his distance off the High Lamock, and a safe and proper course was not subsequently adopted.
  That after the stranding of the vessel everything was done by the captain and officers with a view to the saving of life, and that had the captain's advice been followed by all, the unfortunate loss of life would probably not have ensued.
  We have also examined the testimonials laid before us by the Master.
  After careful deliberation we consider that the Master is to blame, and we direct that his certificate be suspended for a period of four months from this date,
  Given under our hands, this 20th day of February, 1886.
R. Murray Rumsey, Retired Commander, R.N., President of Court.
George S. Keigwin, Navigating Lieutenant, R.N.
Thos. Hamlin, Master, Brit. Str. Amatista.
J. Hutchinson. Master, Brit. Str. Memling.


The Singapore Free Press, 2 June 1892

A Hongkong paper reports the arrival of "through cargo to Swatow" of Straits criminals, three in number, by the Wingsang.  They were promptly taken charge of by the police who forwarded them on to Swatow by the Formosa. It will be remembered that one of the points brought up in the Lu Thien case was that the Police had no power over deportees outside the limits of the Colony.  How it happens that the Hongkong authorities possess power - useful though it may be - over men who have been guilty of no offence against Hongkong laws we do not know.  While it is extremely desirable that our deported scamps should not be foisted upon Hongkong, if that Colony is without the legal power to prevalent their landing and stopping there, steps should be taken to acquire it.  Some day a case will arise which will cause difficulty.


The Canton Times, 11 January 1919


Hongkong, Jan. 8

   The proceedings entered into by the Canton Authorities for the extradition of a Chinese man and woman who were said to have taken a prominent part in the robbery in Kwong Hui City, Sun Ning District, on January 16, 1918, was resumed at the magistracy last Wednesday afternoon before Mr. J. R. Wood of Hongkong Magistracy.

   The witnesses were cross-examined by Mr. J. H. Gardiner.  They stuck to it that the two fugitives were prominent figures in the robbery and were the heads of the band.  One of the robbers used to call the male fugitive Lopau, which literally means "violent or daredevil man."

   Inspector Grant was recalled by the Asst. Crown Solicitor (Mr. Leo Longhinotto) to give further evidence.  This was objected to by the defending counsel who said that Mr. Longhinotto had intimated at the last hearing that the evidence of the witnesses had closed.  It was eventually decided by the Magistrate that the Inspector should continue his evidence at the close of the cross-examination of the witnesses.

   In the witness-box the Inspector testified that the sum handed by the female fugitive to him at the time of her arrest amounted to $4,000, consisting of bank-notes of various denominations, and some American money.

   Mr. Gardner then applied to the Court on behalf of the female fugitive for the return of this sum, or in the alternative, for the return f $950, which was the sum in excess of that alleged in the evidence to have been taken by the female fugitive from the witnesses when they were captured.  This application was adjourned until the next hearing.

   The proceedings were then adjourned until the 16th.


The Canton Times, 7 February 1919

   Anna d'Almeida, a Portuguese woman was before Mr. R. E. Lindsell of the Hongkong Magistracy on a charge of returning from banishment.  She was deported on June 28 1917, for a term of 10 years.  She came from Macau last Tuesday evening, and was arrested by the Police in a boarding house.  She now told magistrate that her reason for returning was that she was the bearer of a letter from the Governor of Macau to the A.D.C. here.  The letter was produced in court, and in order that it may reach the addressee and reveal what bearing it has to the case, Mr. Lindsell adjourned further hearing until to-morrow.


The Canton Times, 25 February 1919


Yang Ying Lu, Special Deputy if the Provincial Government in Hongkong, has lately extradited Chen Tauen, and two other criminals from Hongkong to Canton.  These criminals were brought before the Police Court for trial yesterday.


The Canton Times,   27 September 1919


There still hangs a tale to the recent extradition trial in Hongkong of Chang Hing, on behalf of the Canton authorities with having kidnapped a girl in Lantao.  On Tuesday, September 23, a Chinese went to the shop of Chan Woon, in Hongkong, and threatened his life for having given evidence against Chan Hing.  The Chinese was accompanied by fourteen men, who ran away when their leader was arrested.  Mr. N. L. Smith, of the Hongkong Court, sentenced the Chinese to prison for three months.

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