Remember A Day

Greek woman held captive, Elizabeth Taylor’s new role and Hong Kong orchestra rumpus: 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 November, 2018, 3:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 November, 2018, 5:36pm

A Greek woman held captive by her family for nearly 30 years and an intruder getting more than he bargained for were some of the bizarre stories that made headlines four decades ago this week.

November 5, 1978

The general manager of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Richard Gamlen, refused to renew his two-year contract. He quit the orchestra after charging that racism, miserable pay and interference by non-musicians were crippling the organisation. It was revealed that the general committee of the Philharmonic was bitterly split over whether to hire locals or expatriates.

November 6, 1978

Rioters set fire to the British embassy in Tehran during a wild anti-government rampage of arson and destruction in the Iranian capital. Mobs also gutted banks, cinemas, hotels and other buildings, in mounting violence which appeared to be a climax to a year of intensifying protests against the Shah and his regime.

November 7, 1978

A 34-year-old carpenter’s wife gave birth to a seven-pound boy during a frantic taxi ride to Macau’s Kiang Wu Hospital. The proud father presented the driver with an envelope containing lucky money after the eventful journey.

China was helping to build an airfield in Cambodia that could handle jet fighters and bombers, according to US intelligence reports. The airfield, northwest of Phnom Penh, was expected to be completed in a few months.

A leading Asian journalist suggested the “quiet” city of Singapore was a far better place than “noisy and dirty” Hong Kong for Filipinos shopping abroad. Teodoro Valencia, whose frequently acerbic comments had made him a household name, made his views known in his weekly column in a local newspaper in Manila.

November 8, 1978

A 47-year-old Greek woman was held captive for 29 years in a dungeon because her family was scandalised by a love affair she had with a teenage boy, police in Athens said. Her brother and two sisters kept her captive even after their parents died, two years before the discovery, which was made after a villager – no longer able to bear the woman’s screams – reported the family to police.

Lines of housewives formed outside bakers’ shops at dawn in England and Wales as mass-production bakeries shut down over a pay dispute. The strike stopped 70 per cent of supplies, mostly of packaged bread, to supermarkets. It was the second strike in 14 months organised by the Bakers Union, which had 26,000 members.

November 9, 1978

Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor took on a new role as a senator’s wife when her sixth husband, John Warner, won a close-run election in Virginia. Warner, a Republican, was a former navy secretary.

November 10, 1978

A London home intruder who tried to molest a young woman was punched by the startled victim, who then smashed him on the head with a high-heeled shoe and grabbed him in a wrestling hold. The victim marched the miscreant to the nearest police station. It was later found that the victim was a former labourer who had recently had a sex-change operation.

Three Hongkongers – the manager and two employees of a Seychelles bank – were arrested in the capital of the archipelago nation after police found more than 300 forged airline tickets in the bank’s strong room. The trio were arrested after reports of forged tickets having been used for flights with 15 different airlines.

John Wayne’s yacht woes and a magazine cheque scam: past headlines

An initial agreement, valued at HK$2.25 billion, was concluded in Beijing with Intercontinental Hotel Corporation to develop a chain of tourist hotels in five major Chinese cities. Chinese sources said the deal was an indication of the “earnest desire” by influential American business groups for normal ties between Beijing and Washington.

November 11, 1978

The Macau Criminal Tribunal held two Hong Kong travel agency guides who allegedly swindled the Hotel Lisboa casino of HK$1 million worth of chips with two dud bank drafts. The pair, a Thai man and his sister-in-law, were allegedly given the money in cash by their employer, to buy chips for a party of 23 Thai tourists who went to the casino a week before. The two pocketed the money and used fake bank drafts to buy chips for the group.

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