Chak-po LAI (aka BAAG No. 15.ii / BAAG No. 50.ii) [????- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Chak-po LAI (aka BAAG No. 15.ii / BAAG No. 50.ii) [????- ]

Alias / nickname: 
BAAG No. 15.ii / BAAG No. 50.ii

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I have the impression that Lai Chak-po became No.50 when Group P was formed circa July 1944.

To OC, BAAG, 15.10.45 – from Lai Chak Po

Dear Sir, I submit most respectfully the following for your perusal:

Before the outbreak of hostilities, I was British Government Civil servant, clerk and interpreter, Kowloon Magistracy and a member of the Hongkong Police Reserve Force.  Though I had to face all sorts of wartime difficulties, I still maintained my pride as a Chinese, so I did not work or perform any service for the enemy.

I put myself in the sphere of spy activity in August 42. Mr. David Loie, former Assistant Superintendent, Police Reserve, was our leader.  We were connected to the British in Waichow. Mr. Thomas Wong and Jacky Lau were in charge of all the members in Kowloon side.  My brother-in-law, Ip Kam Wing (spy No.14) and I (spy No.15)worked under Thomas Wong.  Ip was working in Asiatic Petroleum company before war.  Both of us had offered considerable help in our service, such as printing of labels and to make identity cards.  As a matter of fact, most of us were old members of the Hongkong police reserve, and our duty was supposed also to assist the Allied troops, if they happened to come to attack Hongkong, to protect the public and to keep order.  The identity cards, signed by Mr. David Loie, were really Police Reservists identity cards.  These cards and labels were to be used immediately after Hongkong was re-occupied by the Allied troops.

In December 1942, Thomas Wong and some other members were instructed to move to Waichow.  About a few months after their departure, our secret service was known by the Japanese, and as a result, David Loie with about thirty members were arrested.  Jacky Lau immediately fled to Waichow and we were luckily out of the mesh.  Our organisation was naturally broken up after the arrest of our leader, who committed suicide in prison.  His wife and others with the exception of one or two were tried and sent to death.

Notwithstanding that our organisation had been entirely smashed by the Japanese, I still kept on corresponding with Thomas Wong.  Our letters were written exactly like business letters so as to evade the notice of censorship.

Early in May 1944, Wong sent a man named Yeung Por to come to see me from Waichow together with a letter and some documents. I cannot remember now the exact words, but it was somewhat like the following:

“The Allied Military Headquarters in Waichow has appointed Ip Kam Wing as leader of an intelligence group with Lai Chak Po as his assistant.  Members 15. To do translation works for Major Holmes. Don’t hesitate. Work for your future. Victory is near”.

We were given new spy numbers.  Ip’s number was 49 and mine was 50.  We spoke to Yeung about the scheme of re-organisation and he left us for Waichow at the end of May.  The scheme we planned for the new organisation was somewhat like the following diagram:

12 members – Yeung Por – Ip Kam wing & Lai Chak Po – Yeung Por – Waichow. (Members were not known to each other. Yeung Por was the only one who connected each of them. Informations obtained by members were passed to Yeung Por, while he, in turn, passed to us for translation and investigation. When it was done, it was passed back to Yeung Por to be brought up to Waichow).

On 15.6.44 at about 4.30 pm, my brother-in-law was arrested and I was arrested a few hours later, though our new project was still in embryo.  Ip was arrested by several Chinese detectives. Two of them I know their names – Lau Kwing Yin & Lai Kit. The others I can only identify, and I believe that they are still in the colony.  Lau Kwing Yin is now under detention. An Indian, named Ram Paul Ghillote, whom he arrested together with us, brought the police for his arrest. Lai Kit is still at large. To the best of my knowledge he has recently joined as a Special Constable, No.420, and I request you that he should be detained right away.  The same party accompanied by a Japanese officer (characters) (English version Shum Shan Ching Hang) arrested me in my house. We were brought to Hongkong Gendarme Headquarters (Supreme Court building), where we were nearly lynched.

At the same time, the Gendarme arrested my father-in-law (Ip Shui Cheung), my brother-in-law (Ip Yiu Ting) and nearly all of my friends.  The following are the names of my friends, who were apprehended by the same party of Chinese and Japanese, though they were utterly innocent:

Ma Lung, Cheung Kam, Shum Ching Keung, D.S.Das, Ram Paul Ghillote, Lee Chung Kan.

On 1.7.44, we were brought to A Hall, Stanley Prison, where we were harshly questioned by Japanese days and nights.  We were given insufficient food, and had to tolerate a lot of severe and inhuman tortures.

On 12.9.44, our case was put on remand, and we were moved to B Hall. We were so weak then that we could hardly walk. Though we were kept in different cells each, we were brought out twice a day by Indian warders for exercise, so we had chance to see and converse with each other. Ip told me that he was tortured most by the Japanese Moriyama (characters) Inouye (characters) or Inoue (characters), Lai Kit and Lau Kwing Yin. He told me that he was given water torture many times and his back was burned with candle fire and cigarette ends. He also told me that once he was forced to drink 4 buckets of water and not given food for 2 days.  As to my part, I was questioned by the same Japanese officer Moriyama through several Formosan interpreters.  I was terribly beaten up, and on several occasions, I was given water torture by the Japanese. On account of my short-sightedness coupled with the fact that I was not allowed to wear glasses after my arrest, I could not identify the others.

On 25.10.44, my brother-in-law Ip Kam Wing died in prison, the cause of death was due obviously to internal injuries.

I was tried by martial tribunal on 7.12.44 and I was sentenced to death after two hearings. My sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on the following day, the 8th day of December, 1944, being the third anniversary of the outbreak of East Asiatic War. I should say this was my narrowest escape in my life.

I was released from prison on 23.8.45 after the Japanese surrender. My prisoner’s number 181 is attached herewith for your reference. (Signed) Lai Chak Po.

Elizabeth Ride has sent this additional statement made by Lai Chak Po:

"One evening when I was kept in A Hall, Stanley prison, I was brought out by the Jap Moriama Masayuki at about 9 p.m.   I was forced to admit my connection with an Irish man, Mr Power, which I strongly denied.  Mr Power was tied in a small room in the vicinity by that time.  I could hear him groaning as if he had just been severely tortured.  A few days later, I was brought out again and I was told that Mr Power had admitted everything.  I strongly denied that I had connection with him, and said I didn't even know him.  The Mr Power was brought in front of me.  Apparently he had been tortured to such an extent that he could not tolerate, so he was forced to admit a lot of lies - such as having connection with me and I was known to him as "Ming Kam Po".  Under such circumstances I knew the situation was very dangerous, so I told Mr Power to swear first before saying anything.  At last, Mr Power spoke in an ambiguous way "I think I know you".  So the Japanese became very angry.  They abused him using dirty language and said "Why didn't you admit now what you told us this morning?" And he was heavily beaten with a strong wire for at least 20 or 30 times in front of me.    The interpreter who tortured him on that occasion was a Taiwanese, whose name I don't know, but I can recognise him.

At one time, I was brought out again to give evidence against Mr Power.  I again refused to do so.  As a result, I was forced to drink more than half a bucket of water.  The interpreter on this occasion was another Taiwanese, name unknown.

On 12-9-44, when we were brought before Martial Tribunal on remand, I had an opportunity to talk with my brother-in-law, Ip Kam Wing.  He told us he had been for many occasions tortured by Lai Kit, Lau Kwing Yan, Inoue Shin (Taiwanese) and Moriyama Masayuki (Jap Gendarme).  He also told me that he had been forced to drink 4 buckets of water and not given food for two days.  The Taiwanese interpreter Inoue Shin I can recognise.

Mr Power died in Prison in November 1944 and my brother-in-law on 25 October 1944.  Apparently, their deaths were due to internal injuries.  The persons responsible for our arrests were Miriyama Masayuki, Lai Kit Lau Kwing Yan and several others.

                                                                   (Signed) Lai Chak Po

                                                                                  Dated 18 September 45."