Slice of Life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2009, 12:00am

Two robbery cases reported on September 14 resulted in vastly different outcomes. Stable boy Wong Sam-hon, 'who benefited to the extent of $6.20, was sentenced to four years' hard labour'. He pleaded not guilty to being one of an armed gang who robbed a man of goods and money value at $126. Wong tried to change his plea to guilty 'if the jury would be lenient', but the judge ordered the jury to be empanelled and proceeded on the original plea. The victim and his wife gave evidence that three men, including the accused, knocked on their door and were admitted as former acquaintances of the husband. After they were 'entertained with tea, they suddenly produced arms and ransacked the house'. The accused said he had been a stable boy at the Jockey Club and went to the complainant's home hoping to get a job. 'He was surprised when his companions produced weapons', they ordered him to stand guard and threatened to shoot him if he disobeyed, the report said. They gave him $6.20 as a share of the proceeds.

In the other case, Private Robert Booth of the South Wales Borderers was sentenced by the same judge to six months' hard labour for robbing a taxi driver at Repulse Bay. 'The accused ... pleaded guilty. The sentence took into account a previous conviction in the Colony, bad record of the accused in the Army, the lengthy period which the accused had spent in prison awaiting trial and his illness from typhoid,' the report said.

Hospital Sunday was observed at the Union Church, Hongkong, on September 16 for the Alice Memorial and Affiliated Hospitals, a report on September 17 said. Offerings from the day were donated to the hospital. The report gives an interesting history of the hospital, which dates back to 1887, when it opened on February 17 as a memorial to Alice Whitcombe, an English woman who was the first wife of Sir Kai Ho Kai. It was built to be a free hospital for people of all nationalities under the control of the London Missionary Society. The hospital was a pioneer of training doctors in the Colony, at which the Hongkong College of Medicine was based. In 1901, it had 51 students of whom the most famous would be the late Dr Sun Yat-sen. It also pioneered training for nurses and the first Chinese probation nurses were trained in this hospital. 'In 1891, there grew a suggestion that nursing was not a respectable career for a woman, and there was much hostility. The first probationer nurse from the London Mission Girls' Boarding School and others who followed suffered persecution until the attitude of the people changed in 1916,' the report said.

Footnote: Sir Kai Ho Kai was a barrister and physician noted for his key role in the relationship between the Hong Kong Chinese and the British colonial government.

'A group of Chinese financiers have got together and mooted a scheme, which ... will considerably brighten up the Colony. They have decided to erect an immense amusement park in Kowloon and, for a small fee, give the people out here a glimpse of Coney Island,' the September 18 report on The Builder page said. Talks were under way for the lease of a piece of land (1,750 feet by 200 feet) owned by the Kowloon Canton Railway in Hunghom. The promoters hoped to include attractions such as see-saws, Ferris wheels, a swimming pool and sea bathing, and, if the land was available, a zoological park. 'Hongkong may soon be brought into line with the great cities of the world with a pleasure park of its own,' the report said.

A jury handed down a guilty verdict within five minutes of retirement on Keung Chi-pan, a young Christian convert who for three days had stood trial on a capital charge involving two men and a woman, a court report said on September 20. The chief justice sentenced Keung to death. The murder victim was Keung Wai-lan, also known as Cheung Sau-le, who with Yim Chun, her lover, was found naked and dead, stabbed to the heart, in a cubicle in a flat at Laichikok Road on July 21, the report said. The accused was committed for trial on the double murder, but the Crown proceeded only in the slaying of the woman because the defendant could not face trial for two such cases at the same hearing. 'The defence pleaded provocation and, in his last word before the black cap was donned by the judge, he said: 'The woman was my wife and the man committed adultery with her. I did not intend to murder her but I discovered them both naked. I was in a rage and did not know how I stabbed.''