Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sex and Death, 1907

I did some more reading in some of the police blotters, this time for 1907. Some lurid, shocking stuff! Here is a sampling:
On the 4th of April a Japanese named Araki Tuzo, age 32 years, unemployed and of no fixed abode was attacked in a Japanese boarding house at 55 Connaught Road Central by a number of Japanese men who stabbed him on the head and body with knives and swords causing such injuries that he died before removal to Hospital. Tuzo the deceased man was the head of a party who imported Japanese women for immoral purposes and some differences arose between some of the party when it was suspected that Tuzo was not acting honestly towards his own party. They decided to remove him and appoint some one else as their head. Some of the party set off in search of Tuzo who apparently took shelter in the boarding house where they found him and murdered him. Four men were arrested and indicted for murder; they were found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to ten years hard labour each. A number of others connected with the party were arrested and banished from the Colony.
55 Connaught Road, the Japanese boarding house of 1907, by the way, is today Crocodile House, that firm that got rich by creating a crocodile that faced a different way from the Lacoste alligator, and made the same product- polo shirts. How that's not trademark infringement I'll never know...

But anywhere, here is an even stranger one:
On the 7th of August while the S.S. Monteagle was lying in the Kowloon Docks the body of a European woman, age about 30 years, was found by the Carpenter in a trunk which had been placed in the baggage room on the 4th of August. The trunk containing the body was handed over to the Police and the body removed to the Mortuary: the appearance of the body showed that death was caused by strangulation, a lady's dress band was tightly fastened around the neck and secured with a brush which had been used as a tourniquet. Later inquiries revealed the fact that two persons who took a room in the Hongkong Hotel [HK's most famous hotel then, now the site of the Landmark, and it's namesake now by the TST Star Ferry - Ed.] on the 3rd of August in the names of a Mr. and Mrs. Jones were missing from their room, this information led to the identification of the body and later the arrest of the murderer. The body was identified as that of a female named Gertrude Dayton, one of the unfortunate class [meaning prostitute - Ed.], and the man as one W. H. Adsetts who accompanied the woman from Manila, arriving in the Colony by the S.S. Eastern on the 3rd of August. The murder was committed sometime in the early morning of the 4th after which the bofy was put in the trunk and later in the day conveyed on board the steamer then lying at anchor in the Harbour. After disposing of the body Adsetts fled from the Colony. He was arrested in Chefoo by the United States Authorities and conveyed to Manila whence he was extradited. Adsetts was brought back to the Colony on the 23rd September, was tried and convicted of murder and hanged.
Thrilling stuff, seems something like CSI meets Hercule Poirot! Chefoo, incidentally, was the old colonial name for Yantai, a city and former treaty port in Shandong province in Northern China.

One more for today:
On the 17th of November the body of a man named Cheung Fuk, age 50 years, a stonecutter residing at 59 High Street [at the corner of High and Centre Streets, just below Bonham Road - Ed.] was removed to the Public Mortuary for Post Mortem examination. Examination showed that deceased died from the effects of a poison. Deceased's concubine Lam Kui alias Mo Ho [gotta love this alias! - Ed.] was arrested and charged with administering a poison. She was convicted at the Criminal Sessions and sentenced to be hanged, since commuted to penal servitude.

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