Naked truth, murderous siblings and a million phones: headlines from four decades ago

A journey back through time to look at significant news and events reported by the South China Morning Post from this week in history

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 March, 2018, 4:19pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 March, 2018, 3:09pm

A study on nudity acceptance by the viewing public was carried out by none other than RTHK and news of a test tube baby reaching the age of 14 months sparked intense reactions in scientific circles in the US four decades ago this week. Back home, Hong Kong celebrated the installation of its millionth fixed telephone line.

March 5, 1978

Former US beauty queen Lynda Carter and star of the hit American television series Wonder Woman was named “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World” – the award was given by the International Academy of Beauty.

Toronto Chinatown gangs, lethal toy pistols and Lisbon’s new man in Macau

A Queen’s Counsel was to be brought from London to Hong Kong to prosecute for the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in a conspiracy trial which involved 34 serving and retired police officers. This was the first sign the ICAC might be allowed more influence in selecting its prosecution team.

March 6, 1978

Nudity and sex were more acceptable in cinema than on television, according to a survey by a research team from RTHK. The survey also found that a naked male was less acceptable than a nude female. RTHK surveyed 1,300 people from across the city by inviting them to watch a pornographic film and then fill in a questionnaire.

Beijing broke into tumultuous cheers and celebrations as Radio Beijing announced the successful conclusion of the weeklong Fifth National People’s Congress, with the approval of a new constitution and a new cabinet.

Gold to encourage defections, Colombian chocolate robbers and a vanishing Korean actress

Medical and scientific circles in the US reacted with scepticism to an announcement that a baby conceived via in vitro fertilisation had reached the age of 14 months. Comments included, “It all sounded like a hoax” and “If true, it’s horrible”. According to reports, the experiment was conducted in the strictest secrecy 23 months earlier from the nucleus of a cell, which came from an anonymous millionaire bachelor aged 60 years old.

March 7, 1978

Chinese Chairman Hua Guofeng had announced plans for a big leap in China’s national production in the coming eight years. The plan intended to achieve annual growth rates of 4 to 5 per cent in agriculture and 10 per cent or more in industry.

A 79-year-old Hong Kong woman was reunited with her sister, whom she had not seen for more than five years, through a television news programme. News of Wong Yuet-choi’s failure to find her younger sister, Yuet-fung, was broadcast at about 6.30pm and within an hour the pair were reunited in Yau Ma Tei police station.

A falling space station, choppers to Macau and fear of oranges

March 8, 1978

A brother and sister pleaded guilty to attempting to murder their 42-year-old father because they claimed he constantly tormented them by making the pair study too hard. The boy stabbed his father in the back with a bread knife while his sister screamed “kill the bastard” and tried to cut him with a broken bottle, Stafford Crown Court in England heard.

March 9, 1978

Chinese Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping was elected chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. The election gave greater credibility to the reactivation of the conference, which had not functioned for 13 years. The outcome also allowed Deng to take over some functions of late prime minister Zhou Enlai.

March 10, 1978

The world finally accepted the merits of traditional Chinese medicine, which for centuries had been looked upon by many as ineffective. Experts at a meeting on medicinal plant research held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong pledged to give firmer recognition to Chinese herbs.

Ninety Iranian policemen were executed a month earlier for refusing to fire on demonstrators who took part in riots that cost the lives of several hundred people in Tabriz and Ghom, an American professor from Stanford University claimed.

March 11, 1978

The rights of an unborn child were safeguarded under a bill gazetted in Hong Kong. The proposed law would guarantee a child the right to seek damages for injuries or wrongs caused to it while it was still in its mother’s womb. The bill in question would bring Hong Kong in line with recent precedents set in British law. 

Hong Kong celebrated the connection of the millionth fixed telephone line and thus joined the list of 27 countries which had also exceeded 1 million fixed telephone lines. The chairman of the Hong Kong Telephone Co Ltd, G.R. Ross, said the Hong Kong system had grown from just over 280,000 lines in 1967.

Protests by horse handlers, a Hong Kong hitman in New York and shady moneylenders

Remember A Day looks at significant news and events reported by the Post during this week in history