Interesting photo | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Interesting photo

Primary tabs

Interesting photo

An interesting photo which I failed to acquire.


Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Monday, July 27, 1903


Thanks HF, that is an interesting photo. It's a clear indication that the stocks were a portable item. Also interesting to see the two Indian policemen, and to compare the turbans. The man on the left is a Sikh, and wears a turban for religious reasons. The man on the right is not a Sikh (no beard) and has a different style of turban which was just part of his police uniform.

Here's a blow-up of the notice board. I'd be grateful if anyone can help me to translate it:

Notice board

Regards, David

 Notice also that the Sikh appears to be armed with a revolver ( on his left side as worn,butt forward ),the Moslem constable and the Cantonese appear unarmed.It was not the policy to arm ( with side arms) the Cantonese until well after WW1.All wear the ubiquitous leather ' snake belt ',which is believed to have first seen the light of day during the American Civil War.Still in use in Hong Kong in the 1960s.

Seems this poor soul,  Chiu Hei ( a school caretaker ?) is being punished because he 'picked up' a gold chain in Caine Road on 26 July 1903 and was caught by a 'district policeman'... there's more but the characters are not quite sharp enough to decipher on my screen.


Given the date of the offence, I think the papers of the day may be able to provide more information and the possible location of the photo.

Thanks Moddsey. I had a look through the paers around that time, and found this mention of a case that used the stocks as punishment:

The Stocks, Birching, and Time for Robbery.

 It is not very often that the stocks are used in Hong Kong, but they were requisitioned today, and for 2 hours and native named Chung Song had the pleasure of gazing from behind them upon his tormenting countrymen and others in Lee Yoon Street. He was there by order of Mr T. Sercombe Smith, Senior Police Magistrate, and was undergoing portion of the sentence passed upon him for snatching a purse from Miss Berkely, daughter of the Honourable Sir H Berkely, yesterday. He has yet to serve 6 months imprisonment, and receive 20 strokes with the birch before the expiration of that period. At the time of the robbery Miss Berkeley was shopping with her sister, and when near Lee Yuen Street Chung Song sneaked up behind her, snatched her purse and ran away with it. Miss Berkeley raised an alarm, and The Sanitary Inspector Cullen, who saw the native run away, jumped from a ricksha ride in which he was riding and went in pursuit. Some of the friends of the fugitive obstructed the inspector, but with the assistance of Inspector Williamson, who happened to be in the vicinity, the man was captured and taken to the Central Police Station. Upon being examined at the station the Chinaman was found to have greased his queue, evidently for the purpose of preventing anyone seizing hold of it if he happened to be caught stealing. His appearance in the stocks, and the punishment passed upon him, will probably act as a deterrent to others of the gang to which he evidently belongs.

The China Mail, 1903-07-17, page 4.

It isn't an exact match to the translation shown above - though the board isn't very clear to read. Could it be the same case?

Regards, David

The photo was made into a picture postcard by Mee Cheung (local photographic studio) entitled "Hong Kong - The Stocks".

1900s Prisoner in Stocks











 If the date on the signboard is correct, the following crime was handled by the Police Magistrate on 27 July 1903.

Hong Kong Telegraph 27 July 1903

A Chinaman spent 3 hours in the stocks in Queen's Road Central at the foot of Battery Path today. He has to undergo a term of imprisonment with hard labour. Yesterday evening (26 July), he snatched a gold chain and watch from a Frenchman who was walking near Government House.

China Mail 27 July 1903

A Chinaman named Chu Fuk was charged at the Magistracy with stealing a watch and chain valued at $135 from Achille Chemin. The accused was captured on Lower Albert Road. A sentence of 3 hours in the stocks and 12 months imprisonment was imposed upon him.

Good finding.

Thanks Moddsey, that looks like the right one, not the 17th July report I quoted. Looks like the stocks were used more often than that earlier report suggests.

Regards, David