Attachment to BAAG document RS/28
((The following document describes the events leading to the Japanese arresting a BAAG agent working in Hong Kong.))
Attached to RD/28 d/19.5.43.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE ARREST OF 60.
60, 61, and 63 have been for some time trying to arrange for the escape of Capt Ansari from MATAUCHUNG CAMP. Helping them in this enterprise was another man YEUNG TAK YI, not previously heard of at A. H. Q., YEUNG was born in PENANG and was formally a schoolmaster at QUEEN'S COLLEGE, HONG KONG.
In order to further this plan, 60 attended on 12 April 43 and meeting of the Indian Independence league. There he asked several of his acquaintances which Indian was ANSARI. It seems that several people pointed out to him a certain Indian with a moustache, and 60 made up his mind that this was ANSARI. After the meeting was over, 60 accosted this man in the street, addressing him as "LIEUT. ANSARI". The man allowed himself to be drawn into conversation and did not deny that that was his name; the two had tea together in a cafe. When they parted, 60 had asked him to tea the following day in his own house, and was still under the impression that he was ANSARI. The man had accepted the invitation and had asked whether he might bring a close friend of his; to this 60 had agreed and had arranged to meet the 2 Indians at the PEAK TRAM STATION.
On the following day-13 April 43-the moustached Indian and one other Indian arrived at the PEAK TRAM STATION as arranged; 61 and 63 watched their approach to see that they were not followed or accompanied by detectives. There appeared to be no deception, so 60 went forward, met them and took them to his house for tea. Others present were: 61, 63, YEUNG TAK YEE. A distant relative of 60's called A. HING acted as a servant at the tea party and 60's wife saw all the guests, though she did not sit at the tea.
YEUNG and 61 were suspicious before the party about the identity of the moustached Indian whom 60 had met because his description did not tally with that of CAPTAIN ANSARI, especially in that his English was not as good as that of ANSARI was reputed to be. During the tea party, the moustached Indian was asked directly whether or not he was in fact ANSARI. He at once admitted that he was not and explained the deception by saying that he had long been waiting for a chance to escape from HONG KONG and could not resist seizing this opportunity when it offered. He went on to say that if 60 etc wanted to arrange for ANSARI's escape, then he and his friend were the ones best placed to help. He said that he and the other Indian were both working in the I.N.A. H.Q. And could through I.N.A. influence arrange at any time for ANSARI to be brought out of the camp. It may here be recorded that A.H.Q. are now reasonably satisfied that the 2 Indians are:-
1. L/NK MOM'D SABAR (moustached), 2/14 PUNJAB REGIMENT
2. L/NK MOM'D IQBAL, 1st HONG KONG REGT., H.K.S.R.A.
It was arranged that some plan on the following lines should be put into operation: the two Indians should bring ANSARI out from the camp, and 60 and his friends should arrange for all three of them to be brought to Free China. SABAR and IQBAL agreed to this, but objected that ANSARI would probably not be prepared to trust them. They therefore asked 60 what means he had previously used to contact ANSARI. 60 revealed to them that it had been done through an Indian named MASTER, also a prisoner in MATAUCHUNG CAMP. MASTER is not actually known to A.H.Q. but it is thought that he is an ex-volunteer, probably local Indian, and it is known that his wife is free and had taken 60's message into the camp; it is thought that she had also been sending messages to ANSARI for 97, but independently. It was finally agreed that SABAR and IQBAL should first of all bring MASTER out of the, and that 60 should see him in person and convince him that they were to be trusted. MASTER was then to go back into the camp and inform ANSARI of what was afoot. After that ANSARI was to be brought out at the first opportunity and everyone was to leave at once for China.
As soon as the Indians had left, there was an altercation between 60 and 61 who said that 60 had been most incautious in the whole matter, and that in particular it had wrong to mention MASTER's name. 60 finally agreed that MASTER and got in touch with the 2 Indians again and told them that the plan had been changed-they were not to bring MASTER out of the camp, but were to wait for favourable conditions and bring out ANSARI himself. In the meantime 60 would do his best to get in touch with ANSARI by other means and warn him to expect some action.
63 was at once sent to A.H.Q.where he arrived on 17 April 43. He brought a brief report from 60s saying that definite headway had been made, and 63 himself gave verbal information that the general plan was to make use of two Indians from the I.N.A.office who had promised to help by bringing ANSARI out of the camp and to come out themselves to Free China with ANSARI. But neither 60's written report nor 63's verbal report contained any information about the mistaken identification of the moustached Indian or about the negotiations which had led up to the plan being formed. 63 is not necessarily to blame for this as he knows no English, and since the conversation at the tea-party was carried on in English he himself was not clear about what had happened. 63 did however explain that 60 was waiting for a letter from ANSARI before taking any action, that a letter was expected at any moment, and that as soon as it arrived 61 would be sent up to A.H.Q.to report. He never actually did so.
There are arrived at A.H.Q., at the same time as 63, a report from 19 to the effect that he had made contact with ANSARI through NARANJAN SINGH, an Indian doing guard duty for the Japanese, and was hoping to make arrangements soon for his escape.
Reply was sent to 60 as follows: "good work; hope all is going well. Be quite certain that plan is good before you act. Am ordering close cooperation between all agents." At the same time a message was sent to 19 ordering him to cooperate with 60 and enclosing a note for ANSARI warning him that he might expect action through either of two channels. 63 left A.H.Q.on 19 April 43.
What happened later is not so clear; it is known that neither of the A.H.Q.vestiges reached 60 or 19, but 19 was nevertheless informed (by 25) to some extent of the progress made by 60. 19 certainly knew of the "mistaken identity" episode, and 19 did not approach 60 or suggest cooperation. It is thought that he considered 60's plan rather rash.
On 21 April 43 at about 13:00 hours YEUNG TAK YI took some rice to 60's house and found the house occupied by gendarmes who questioned him closely about his business. The rice provided a pretext and he was allowed to go but was unable at the time to find out what had happened. He got in touch with 63 at once. 63 had already been to 60's house that morning – having just returned to HONG KONG from A.H.Q.– had seen from the street that something unusual had happened, and had not entered the house at all. Both YEUNG and 63 made all efforts to find out what had happened, 63 through an ex-soldier (R.A.) named TO of the LOK TIN TEI Gambling Den, SHAMSHUIPO (this man knew 60, 61, 63 and YEUNG and probably had a shrewd idea of what they were doing) and YEUNG through the friends and relations of 60. By the evening of 21 April 43 the following information was already known to 63 and YEUNG through TO: 60's house was raided at 03:00 hours on 21 April 43 and 60, 61, 60's wife and A. HING were arrested. They were kept under arrest in their own house until about 17:00 hours and meantime a thorough search of the house was carried out. The gendarmes questioned everybody about a man named Lee whom they wanted to arrest. At about 17:00 hours the whole party was taken to the CENTRAL POLICE STATION. As Lee was the false name used by 63 at the tea-party, YEUNG and 63 at once assumed that the raid was the result of information given by the two Indians.
At about midday on 22 April 43 message was received by YEUNG from 60's wife who had been released on the previous night soon after the prisoners arrived at CENTRAL POLICE STATION. This message corroborated the information already received but added that 63's real name was now known to the gendarmes who were searching for him and for a man named YEUNG. YEUNG drew from this the inference that A.HING had probably told the Japanese all he knew, and he at once moved to another house. He arranged for his servant to watch the house where he usually lived, and he received news the same evening that Japanese police agents were watching the house; so he decided to leave HONG KONG at once. He left on the morning of 23 April 43, having looked in vain for 63, and arrived at A.H.Q.on 25 April 43. He was identified by 62 and gave all the information he had. He is still at A.H.Q.and arrangements have been made to support his family in HONG KONG for the time being.
In the meantime 63 had been expecting a call from 25 on 21 April 43. By the morning of 22 April 43 he had still heard nothing from him, so he went to look for him. He was told by a relation of 25's in a SHAMSHUIPO shop that 25 had been arrested in his aunt's house on the 21 April 43. 63 at once went to 75 at Y and reported all he knew. Shortly after his arrival at Y an incoherent report was received through the Gs. To the effect 63 had been arrested and tortured and that he had given away information leading to the arrest of 25 at shop Z together with "two fokies". This is clearly quite false as 63 has never been arrested at all and is safe in Free China. According to orders given to 25 on 7 April 43 he was to cease going to shop Z and the Z collecting work was to be carried out without the shop being used. As far as is known at A.H.Q. 25 had carried out these instructions. 63 was proposing to return to HONG KONG to try to find out the real facts when 62 arrived at Y from A.H.Q. 52 had already seen YEUNG TAK YI on the road and knew that 63's real name was known to the Japanese. 63 rightly decided that he could not return to Hong Kong and at once proceeded to A.H.Q., where he still is. Arrangements have been made to support his family and that of 60 in HONG KONG for the time being.
On 29 April 43, 19's father and other members of his family arrived at A.H.Q.and reported that 19 was arrested in the house where they all lived on the morning of 21 April 43 at about 06:30 hours. The whole house was searched – without anything incriminating being found – and 19 was told that he would be held on a charge of having undesirable associations. It is known that 97 also has been detained (this was learned through YEUNG, who had it from 60's brother JIMMY) but it is not known on what charge or when the arrest occurred. It is believed that 97 has for some considerable time past been in touch with the prisoners in the Indian camp (MATAUCHUNG CAMP) through MASTER's wife. It is most unlikely that 97 was arrested through 19 as the real contact for 97 was 98. 98 went to 19's house on the afternoon of 21 April after 19 had been taken away by the Japanese; he was warned by 19's father, destroyed his reports and got away without doing anything to cause suspicion to be aroused and without being questioned.
A later report from the Guerillas has now been received to the effect that Shop Z was raided at 08:00 hours on 21 April 43. None of importance was caught and no incriminating documents were found. 99's family who lived there were arrested but all except 99's brother have already been set free. 99 himself was at A.H.Q. at the time and his successor at post Z was not in the shop when the raid took place. As 99's successor does not receive his instructions direct from us, it is not known whether he was in fact using the shop at the time of the arrests. The Guerillas were officially informed on about 10 April 43 that we intended to close the shop.
As soon as 60's arrest was reported to A.H.Q. orders were sent to 47 to try to investigate the matter. Reply has now been received from 47; he reports that many people have been arrested including "British and Portuguese". Some Indian traitors, he says pretended that they wish to escape and got full details from Chinese who were willing to help which they at once reported to the Japanese authorities under ENDO. Several Indian P.O.Ws in MATAUCHUNG Camp, including Captain ANSARI and a local Indian Volunteer, have been arrested. Many Chinese have been detained including some peasants from the New Territories who were connected with some escape route. 47 stresses that this affair is "not of gendarmerie but of Indian Independence League" and he lays the chief blame on HAKIM KHAN.
He gives the names of several men who have, he says, acted as informers, including that of MOM'D IQBAL and says he can probably supply fuller details later.
NOTE: the information contained in the above report is drawn from the following sources: 63, YEUNG TAK YI, 19's family, Guerilla Intelligence, 99 and 47. The report summarises all information available on 6 May 43. Every effort is being made to get fuller information as soon as possible.
((The above text was originally attached to BAAG document RS/28. In the AWM collection its file number is 11/32/130 - 11/32/134. A copy is filed in the Elizabeth Ride Collection here in Hong Kong under the date 19th May 1943.))