Remember A Day

A marriage scam in Manila and a kissing problem in Manchester: 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, 27 December, 2018, 11:13am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 December, 2018, 8:58pm

Policewomen in Manchester being spared the forcible kisses of New Year’s revellers, and a sham marriage scam coming to light in Manila were some of the quirky headlines reported four decades ago this week. Christmas Day that year was a non-publishing day.

December 24, 1978

● The mother of a Hong Kong businessman who had been jailed in Nepal for smuggling watches into the country flew to the Himalayan kingdom to beg the king to pardon her son. Duffy Sapper would be accompanied to Kathmandu by a Hong Kong lawyer. Douglas Sapper was serving an eight-year sentence.

December 26, 1978

● In Manila, a new type of recruitment racket was targeting Filipinos and luring them in with promises of overseas employment or marriage to West German men. Labour officials said there had been a rising number of Filipino women being stranded in West Germany, who were also seeking the help of a labour attaché in finding a new job.

December 27, 1978

● Through-train services between Hong Kong and Guangdong, which had been disrupted for 30 years, were likely to resume early in the new year. Timing for the resumption of services would depend on the completion of a modern customs building near the Guangzhou railway terminal.

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● A Philippines Supreme Court judge declared that annulments of marriages granted by the Roman Catholic Church in Manila were not legal, and that any of the parties marrying again might be prosecuted for bigamy. Justice Felix Makasiar made the observation in a judgment against the right of the clergy to take elective local government office, as part of the separation of church and state.

December 28, 1978

● The kissing would have to stop on New Year’s Eve – at least for policewomen in Manchester. Policemen on duty in the city centre at midnight could allow themselves to be smothered by kisses from women revellers, but policewomen were to be restricted to “indoor duties” to avoid similar festive encounters.

December 29, 1978

● Tung Wah Hospital’s acupuncture electro-stimulation clinic, the only one in the world to employ the Chinese technique to cure drug addicts, was to close at the end of the year. However, operations would be allowed to continue under the Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers in four months.

● A seven-year-old girl was killed when she was trapped in a blazing metal-caged flat in Shau Ki Wan.

December 30, 1978

● Passengers on board a United Airlines flight were warned to brace themselves for a crash before the aircraft ploughed into trees and flattened two unoccupied houses. Ten passengers were killed, and rescuers believed other bodies might still be trapped in the wreckage.

● A go-slow by police interpreters resulted in a backlog of 72 cases in the Supreme Court and at the district level. In an effort to minimise the delays, the government used a pool of 12 Chinese-language officers and retired interpreters to ease the workload at police headquarters.

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