What you may not know though, is that Wing Lok Street in 1878, during the tenure of Governor John Pope-Hennessy, was the site of perhaps Hong Kong's most daring robbery. Now Hennessy, has we have revealed in previous posts, had taken a liberal attitude towards rules for the Chinese, and had removed some of the more strict punishments for Chinese criminals like flogging and branding them before deportation to the mainland. The colonial community was up in arms at these relaxations of the rules, which they felt were the only thing standing between order and anarchy. They felt that a rise in the crime rate was attributable specifically to these moves. They didn't like his appointment of Ng Choy, the first Chinese in Legco, to the chamber either.
So imagine the outcry when the following incidents took place, as described excellently by Crisswell and Watson in their book on the Hong Kong police force, 1841-1946:
I shall save you the trouble of imagining the reaction of the newspapers by relaying the story run in the Hong Kong Daily Press:
"such an audacious attack on property as that which took place in
The effects were immediate. The colonial community not too long after demanded the Governor's resignation and wrote many letters home to the Secretary for the Colonies. It didn't work immediately, but eventually they got their way. Hennessy was a man before his time, which is why even though many Chinese came to see him off on his departure, not one colonial resident of Hong Kong did the same; it was not until the 1920s that 'Hennessy Road' was named after him in his honor. Appropriately, the road running through Wanchai was in the heart of a Chinese district.