Hitler’s headquarters up for sale, Taiwan’s first quadruplets and an Englishman who ate coins: 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
A man in England went as far as swallowing coins to feign illness so he could get the attention of nurses, and a Taiwanese mother gave birth to quadruplet boys four decades ago this week.
July 9, 1978
● The US planned to end all military and financial aid to Taiwan in a year’s time as the latter’s economy was booming, and Washington was trying to improve relations with China. According to United States government sources, money given to help Taipei buy American arms would stop flowing by 1980.
July 10, 1978
● The one-time headquarters of Adolf Hitler, a 12th-century fortress near Bad Nauheim which he called the “Eagle’s Nest”, was put up for sale.
● China accused the Vietnamese government of having applied “all kinds of discrimination and persecution” to force Chinese nationals out of the country. The official Xinhua news agency, quoting returnees from Vietnam, said Hanoi had mobilised all its mass media resources and used every opportunity to conduct open anti-China campaigns and ignite anti-China sentiment.
July 11, 1978
● For the first time, a Swiss banker was persuaded to give evidence in a court of law in another country concerning a client’s account. Pierre Roux, of the Overseas Development Bank of Geneva, arrived in Hong Kong the day before to give evidence for a high-profile police corruption case.
● A 23-year-old Taiwanese housewife gave birth to four boys, who weighed between 3.7 and 5lbs, in Kaohsiung. It was Wu Wen-shih’s first pregnancy and the first-ever quadruple birth in Taiwan.
July 12, 1978
● The go-ahead for building a new airport in Chek Lap Kok was said to depend on China giving an assurance for Hong Kong’s future beyond 1997. A government source revealed that without Beijing’s blessing, it was understood that the British-Hong Kong administration would hesitate to invest heavily in the project, estimated to cost HK$3.6 billion at 1974 prices, possibly rising to HK$10 billion by 1990.
● The world’s first test-tube baby would be born in the next two or three weeks to a 32-year-old woman, the Daily Express in London reported. The newspaper did not name the woman, saying only that she was the wife of a railwayman and that the birth would be by caesarean section.
July 13, 1978
● A lonely man from South East England swallowed 50 pence coins to feign illness because he enjoyed the company of nurses, a court heard. Ellis Fraser, 43, was sentenced to jail for a year after pleading guilty to three charges of obtaining hospital treatment by deception. The court heard that he had been in hospitals all over the country complaining of chest pains and being admitted for up to a week at an estimated cost of £40 (HK$360) a day. In his defence, Fraser said he liked nurses because they gave him the sympathy and affection he lacked in the outside world.
July 14, 1978
● A Moscow court sentenced dissident Alexander Ginzburg to eight years in a labour camp on charges of anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda. He was accused of distributing anti-Soviet literature and of making illegal use of money sent by another dissident; the money was intended as financial aid for the families of political prisoners.
July 15, 1978
● US President Jimmy Carter said he deplored the recent sentences against Soviet dissidents. In response to the trials of a number of them, including Alexander Ginzburg, the American leader said: “Our voice will not be stifled as we consider these violations and others around the world of human rights.”
● China accused Vietnamese security forces of firing into the air to force ethnic Chinese people to cross the border into its southern territory. Xinhua news agency said that more than 200 Chinese nationals arrived in a small town in China’s Guangxi autonomous region after being threatened by Vietnamese border guards.
Remember A Day looks at significant news and events reported by the Post during this week in history