The Hongkong Guerillas

Submitted by emride on Fri, 12/11/2015 - 17:17

I put these two documents together in Chapter 16, "The Hongkong Guerillas", in Volume III of my BAAG Series.The Holmes paper is from the BAAG papers in the Australian War Memorial and the shorter paper that follows is from my father's private papers in my possession (I usually refer to them as Ride Private Papers). Together they gave a good picture of the communist guerillas, known by the BAAG as the 'Reds'.

By:  Major D.R. Holmes, BAAG

12th July 1944.


            That part of China which marches with the New Territories of Hongkong has enjoyed no settled or strong government since long before the fall of the Tsing dynasty.  It is famous for its robbers and pirates, and law and order have been maintained, in so far as they have been maintained at all, rather by the strong local clans than by the Kuomintang, to which the area owes no strong traditional allegiance.  Side by side with these turbulent districts are the New Territories of Hongkong which form a marked contrast:  here the peasants, accustomed since the lease of the Territories to strong government and a high standard of law and order, have grown soft and forgotten their former traditions of independence and self-sufficiency.

            About the time of the fall of Canton at the end of 1938, a guerrilla unit was formed, nominally under the Central Govt., to assist in carrying on a war of resistance against the Japanese in the Canton-Kowloon railway area and in the East River area.  This unit, which was under the command of an ex-seaman, Tsang Shang (     ) and was financed mainly by contributions from Chinese immigrants in Malaya, broke away from its nominal Kuomingtang allegiance soon after its formation and declared its Communist sympathies.  Tsang Shang’s skilful recruitment policy and sympathetic treatment of the peasants have enabled the unit to survive and expand until the present time, in spite of active and almost continuous military operations carried out against him by the Kuomingtang forces in the area.  It is generally accepted that Tsang’s unit, which is now called the Kwangtung People’s Resistance-Against-Japan Guerillas Unit (     ) was, from its inception, sponsored by the main body of the Chinese Communist Party and that financial and other support was and is available to it from that source.  This unit formed the strongest and most aggressive Chinese military formation near Hongkong during the months just prior to the outbreak of the Pacific War, and it is understood that at that time negotiations – which bore no fruit – were carried on through the medium of the Chinese Admiral Chan Chak – now Sir Chan Chak K.B.E. – and details of them are thought to be known to Mr. F.W. Kendall.  At that time the area of Tsang Shang’s influence was confined to that stretch of the Canton-Kowloon railway which lies between Shumchun and Sheklung.  The seaboard of Mirs Bay and Bias Bay were controlled – if they were controlled at all – by so-called “guerrillas” recruited by the Central Govt., from the robbers and pirates, and unsympathetic to the Communists.

            It is the writer’s opinion that the primary policy of these Communist guerrillas is, and always has been, to consolidate and strengthen their own military and political position in the area:  though genuinely sincere in their anxiety to resist the Japanese, they maintain that the defeat of the Japanese can only be brought about through the growth of the Chinese Communist Party.  Any temporary success which they might win against the Japanese at the cost of weakening the steady growth of their Party forces would be regarded as a Pyrrhic victory.

            The Communist forces were not seen during the siege of Hongkong, but shortly after the fall of the Colony (25th December, 1941), they began to move into the New Territories.  At first they were seen both in the Eastern and Western areas of the New Territories, but later they concentrated in the peninsula which lies to the East of Saikung, which they still control to-day.  The Japanese made no attempt to police the New Territories until some time after the Communists had occupied this area, and when they did turn their attention to it, all their attempts to dislodge the Reds were unsuccessful.  The Reds enlisted the sympathy of the peasants NOT by Communist propaganda but by protecting the villages from bandits, several hundred of whom were liquidated with conspicuous ruthlessness and competence;  the villages would otherwise have been defenceless against these bandits.  (Ideological training is reserved for the young).  The writer is convinced that the expansion of Tsang Shang’s unit into British territory was planned in some detail before the Japanese attack on the Colony.  The leader of the New Territories Section of the Reds was – and still is, as far as is known – Tsoi Kwok Leung (     ).  All that is known of his background is that he was formerly connected with several minor Chinese industrial enterprises in Hongkong and Amoy, and that he is consumptive.

            In (say) May 1942, then, the Reds firmly controlled their new sphere of influence, the Saikung peninsula, in addition to their old area – the Canton-Kowloon railway area south of Sheklung.  In addition their troops were moving fairly freely in the desolate mountainous area of Ng Tung Shan and the coastal range which runs East from Ng Tung Shan.  At that time their patrols had already been seen in Shayuchung.  The seaboard of Mirs Bay and Bias Bay were, however, controlled by the Kuomingtang–backed bandits who have already been referred to.  The nearest Chungking regular troops were in Tamshui.  (One regiment of 187 Div. Div. HQ at Waichow).  It will be seen that the Reds’ strategic position was very weak:  open to attack – and indeed, from time to time attacked – from all sides both by Japanese and by Chungking troops, they were able to survive by genuine guerrilla tactics.  But their economic position was strong as they were able to control 90% of the trade between Hongkong and Free China.  At that time this trade was very considerable in volume and value, and the Reds greatly strengthened their financial position by taxing this trade.  They still control these trade routes and they still levy these taxes, but the volume of trade is now much smaller.

            The Reds had a vigorous policy towards the “cushion” of bandit-guerrillas which the Central Govt. had placed between their regular troops and the Occupied areas.  Some of them were intimidated into taking orders from the Reds while still paying nominal allegiance to the Central Govt.  Some were seduced and openly joined the Reds;  some again, proving difficult to deal with, were disarmed by the Reds and liquidated in a series of interesting guerrilla sorties, at least one of which was seaborne.  Leung Wing Yuen, (     ), the powerful ex-bandit who controlled the Taiping Peninsula at the time of the fall of Hongkong, and who had been “recognised” as a “guerrilla” by the Central Govt., as a reward for his services to the Chan Chak escape party, was wise enough to apply for a transfer after his first brush with the Reds in about October 1942, and was never heard of again in that area.   By the end of 1942 the Reds had a working understanding with every armed group on the seaboard of Mirs Bay, and they controlled the waters of Mirs Bay, partly through manning their own junks with armed parties, but more particularly by employing on a cash basis  independent pirate and smuggler elements whose livelihood had been much affected by the fall of Hongkong.  The most important figure amongst these was Lau Pui (     ) who will be mentioned later.

            It should be stressed that throughout the period described above open warfare was being carried on between the Central Govt troops based at Waichow and the Reds.  The fighting was only periodical, but it is true to say that every operation undertaken by the Chinese 187 Div. during its year of garrison duty was directed against the Reds.  There has never in this area been any pretence, as in the North West, that there is a truce in being between the Communist and Kuomintang forces.  In the Canton-Kowloon railway area, the Central Govt. troops had held their own but, as has been said, the Reds had gained ground on the coast.

            Early in 1943, 187 Div was relieved by 9 Indep Bde, a miserable formation which had already twice lost Waichow to the Japanese during previous spells of garrison duty.  From that date to the present a policy of more vigorous expansion was pursued by the Reds.  On the Canton-Kowloon railway and in the area west of the railway they were able to expand their influence almost unchecked until in November 1943, the Japanese suddenly seized the whole stretch of the railway Shumchun-Sheklung, completing their railway L. of C. Kowloon-Canton.  The Japanese put in only a skeleton garrison on this railway and the result of this occupation was to facilitate Red expansion, especially West of the railway where the Reds were no longer subject to periodical attacks from the Central Govt troops!

            Meanwhile the Reds had taken stronger action against what remained of the Central Govt’s “bandit cushion” on the coastline of Mirs Bay and Bias Bay.  By December 1943, Central Govt forces dared not approach the coast in smaller numbers than 1 Bn. at any point from Yim Tin to Fokai Pt.  In effect, the whole coast line with which this paper is concerned had passed under Red control.  It must, however, be remembered that the forces with which the Reds held – and still hold – this area are essentially mobile forces of the classical guerrilla type.  They have no bases, and a Central Govt. column, if it is strong enough, can penetrate to any depth into the Red sphere of influence in any direction without encountering solid resistance.  But its L. of C. and flanks will be harried, especially at night, and the forward troops may suffer from crude mines and booby traps.

            Finally in February 1944, the Reds announced that Lau Pui had joined the Communist forces.  This young man, backed by the Reds, had shown some ability in organising the worst elements of Mirs and Bias Bay into some semblance of a disciplined unit, and had gained fairly large quantities of arms and ammunition in successful operations against Central Govt “guerrillas”.  Even in this area – probably the “toughest” in South China – the type of man operating under Lau Pui is outstandingly undesirable.  It was known before that the Reds had a fairly close understanding with Lau Pui’s pirates, but the addition of this force represents a substantial increase in Red strength provided Lau Pui and his men will submit to Red discipline.  The Reds have considerable experience of recruiting bandits and pirates and it is considered unlikely that Lau will give them much trouble.  As a result of the “merger”, the whole of the Taipang Peninsula – i.e. the area separating Mirs Bay from Bias Bay comes under Red control.

            The above Red expansion in the Hongkong area has not been unnoticed by Chungking;  and in February 1944, the Central Govt announced that stronger measures were to be taken.  These were initiated at a fairly high level and in April a Major-General appeared in Waichow to direct – independently of the Waichow Garrison Commander –  anti-Red operations.  He brought with him a large staff and his budget was generous, but he did not bring any troops.  The arrangement was that he could draw on Garrison troops as his operations required.  Operations were, in fact, soon under way, but Central Govt casualties were high and no progress was made.  Early in May it was rumoured that the Garrison establishment was to be increased in order that more troops should be available for purely anti-Red operations.  If this has been carried out and if good troops are sent it may have considerable effect on the campaign:  but it is not thought likely that Central Govt forces can now be  moved south in view of recent Japanese operations in Hunan.  We have seen how the Japanese occupation of Hongkong and later the loss of the Canton-Kowloon railway were turned by the Reds to their advantage and were indeed milestones of Red expansion.  If the present Japanese offensive leads, as it must lead, to any considerable regrouping of Central Govt forces in Kwangtung, then it is considered highly probable that the Reds will turn this circumstance also to their own advantage.  Underground penetration of the whole East River area by the Communists is known to be considerable and if, for example, all Central Govt forces were to withdraw from the East River, then the Reds would be likely to expand considerably, and in a short time, their sphere of influence.                                                                                                       

            The above is the background against which British military activity in the area has been staged.  The first attempt to make use of the Reds in the New Territories was made by [Censor: retained under section 3(4)] who escaped early in 1942 from Stanley Internment Camp.

            He was helped by the Reds and he attempted to enlist their help in engineering further escapes from the Camp.  He succeeded at least in establishing cordial personal relations with the Reds, and it is thought that they genuinely tried to carry out the plans he put forward.  The plans finally failed, however, chiefly through bad weather which interrupted all junk traffic, and were finally abandoned.  In July 1942, an MI9 team [BAAG] arrived in Waichow, duly accredited to the local Central Govt Garrison Commander.  It had, however, been known beforehand that no MI9 work would be likely to succeed without the co-operation of the Reds, who had already given considerable help to many European “Escapees” and authority had already been secured from the provincial Military Authorities to make contact with the Reds for MI9 purposes only.  A party was sent into the New Territories at once (3 BOS and 2 Chinese civilians) and stayed with the Reds for 6 weeks.  It was found impossible to carry out MI9 operations, and though some visual and photographic recce was carried out, the expedition was on the whole a failure.  But the Reds showed themselves willing on the whole to co-operate in any work which would not be likely to draw enemy attention and reprisals.  The writer was in command of this party and made many personal contacts with Red leaders, especially with Tsoi Kwok Leung.   Pious hopes were expressed by both sides for future “co-operation”, and the relations when the party withdrew were good.  Tsoi had asked whether it would be possible for his unit to be recognised and supplied by the British Govt.

            From October 1942, to June 1943, relations were maintained from Waichow with the Reds in the New Territories (NOT with those in Chinese territory) by means of Chinese agents, and the Reds assisted in several MI9 operations and also in the routine collection of Intelligence material.  It must be stressed that their co-operation was usually satisfactory provided they were not asked to do anything which would tend to draw Japanese attention to their activities:  this proviso eliminates, of course, most forms of useful work.  In effect, as has been said, their primary objective was, and is, to maintain and expand their strength in the area.  Another important factor was their distrust of Chinese working for the British.  The Reds would argue that the Central Govt would probably use British Organisations in order to infiltrate Kuomintang agents into Red Areas;  as the British would not know anything of this, then a British guarantee of an agent’s bone fides could not always be considered valid.  This security measure is not unreasonable from the Red’s point of view, but led to great difficulties in co-ordinating with them an expanding Intelligence network.

            Meanwhile the Central Govt had not withdrawn their permission to maintain contact with the Reds, but there was considerable suspicion of the British activities and aims. The question came to a head over the proposal to establish a shipping O.P. in Lantau Island.  This could only have been done through the Reds and in June 1943 the Central Govt authorities in Waichow were asked whether the British might supply to the Reds a quantity of small arms and ammunition for the local protection of the proposed O.P.  Permission was refused and, further, the Chinese directed that all contact between the British in Waichow and the Reds must cease at once.  Contact was accordingly broken off, and all efforts to have negotiations started at a higher level for the resumption of these valuable connections were unsuccessful.  The position is still substantially the same at the time of writing, and although it has been possible to continue routine espionage it will be understood that special operations, either MI9 or other, cannot be attempted until this deadlock has been removed.  But since this ban was imposed there has been one unsuccessful attempt to set up another shipping O.P., and the circumstances are of such interest that they are set out below in some detail.

            India had been considerably disappointed by the failure of the Lantau O.P project as also had USAAF Intelligence in China.  It was therefore proposed in the Autumn of 1943 to set up a coastwatching O.P on Tsat Neung Shan, the highest mountain in the Taipang Peninsula.  In Sept. 1943 a party of 5 Chinese was despatched with a W/T set and all the necessary equipment.  They established themselves in a remote village on the mountain side where, as the villagers over the whole peninsula had already been “sweetened” by several relief projects sponsored by the British Embassy, and as the Japanese very seldom visit the area, it was thought they would be able to carry on the work without difficulty.  However, 7 days after their arrival a strong detachment of Lau Pui’s men raided the post and captured all the men and equipment.  Direct negotiations with Lau Pui proved valueless and the Chinese authorities were persuaded to agree to negotiations through the New Territories Reds.  In this way the men and some of the equipment were eventually recovered after three months negotiations.

            The Reds maintained that Lau Pui was not under their control (it will be remembered that they did not officially acknowledge his connection with them until Feb. 1944) and that the O.P could only have been set up by prior negotiations between Lau Pui and the British, carried on through the Reds.  They could, they said, have used their influence with Lau Pui in order to secure his co-operation in setting up the O.P, just as they had in fact used their influence to secure the release of the men and equipment!  The following is considered to be the most convincing account of what really happened:  when the British broke off relations with the Reds in June 1943, the Reds must have realised that this was due to Chungking pressure.  They therefore took the view that the British were not prepared to oppose Chungking’s wishes (it is possible, though not probable, that they even thought British Organisations might be likely to spy on Red activities on behalf of the Kuomintang);  when therefore, they heard that the British had sent an armed party into an area which was more accessible to Red that to Central Govt forces, they determined to show that the British could not have it both ways: if the British proposed to operate in Red territory, then they must be taught that they could only do so by prior arrangement with the Reds.

            Central Govt permission to contact the Reds expired with the release of the men and equipment and the present position is that no contact is permitted or carried on.

            Since the above incident, only one further development need be recorded:  on 11th Feb Lieut. Kerr, P40 pilot of the Chinese-American Wing 14 AAF, was shot down over Hongkong and landed by parachute about one  mile north of Kai Tak a/d in Kowloon.  Through his own courage and resource, and through the very able help given him by the Reds, he evaded capture and reached Waichow six weeks later.  Kerr was given by the Reds a very full account of the whole history of their associations with the British;  he saw Tsang Shang in person (as far as is known he is the first European to have seen him) and when he emerged he carried with him offers from the Reds to the Americans of co-operation in rescue work, Intelligence and Sabotage.  These offers were embodied in a letter written in English, addressed to Gen. Chennault (14 AAF) and signed by Tsang Shang.  This letter was read by the writer when Kerr passed through Waichow.  It is assumed that all the messages given to Kerr were passed on to the American authorities.  As far as is known Kerr himself was sent to India as soon as he rejoined his unit.

            There has not been time to include in this brief report any account of Red methods, disposition, organisation etc., nor is it possible to include lists of the useful personal contacts which had been established amongst the Reds and amongst the villagers in Red-controlled territory.  This memorandum has been written primarily to show that British contact with the Communists in South China already has a background and history, which, it is suggested, should not be ignored if and when future contacts are planned.

D.R. Holmes, Major (M.O.1 (S.P.))
12 July, 1944


(Written by unknown BAAG author)

            The following is a short note on the organization of the Red Guerillas as we knew it in Eastern Kwangtung and the New Territories.  Their area was divided into sub-areas each under a sub-area head;   for instance, the New Territories was a sub-area.  Under the sub-area head came three officers – the military commander, the political officer and the liaison officer.  Of these, the first two were regulars and they were responsible for the training of potential recruits who would eventually join up in either the local protection units of each village or become regular guerillas.  The political officer and the liaison officer were responsible for recruiting, training classes for children and able-bodied adults, and for propaganda.

            The regular troops were divided into units called Toi, the largest being a Tai Toi composed of several Chung Toi which in turn were composed of several Siu Toi.  The Commanding Officer of each of these units was known as Cheung;  Gong Soi was Chung Toi Cheung of the unit based in Saikung.

            The procedure adopted by the Reds in moving into a new district is somewhat as follows:  on arrival they would interview the village elders and inform them of their plans and their method of government.  The political officer would begin his instruction of the children and able bodied adults by taking over the teaching in the village and by propaganda.  The teacher would be paid jointly by the villagers and the Reds.  The villagers would be told how much of each crop they would have to contribute towards the Reds and how much money.  They usually ran the villages very well and we were very struck by their discipline, especially in the early stages in order to win their confidence and their support.  As a result of their propaganda and teaching in the schools, certain of the able-bodied men would be chosen to become regular guerillas and then they would be sent away for training.  The rest of the adults who were unable to leave the area would be grafted into a local protection unit in the village and given further training in their duties, the children were similarly graded and the better ones were Siu Gwai (Small Devils) and the others Gau Tung (Runners).  On the arrival of either the Japanese or the Central Government Forces in the area, the Regulars and the local Protection Units would disappear leaving only the women, the old men and the innocent Siu Gwai and Gau Tung.  The former would act as spies, collecting all intelligence of any value from the village as previously instructed and passing it by means of Gau Tung to the Commander wherever he may have moved to.  Each Unit would obtain its funds from three sources – voluntary contributions, trade and protection fees.

This is a very valuable article about the involvement of red guerrilla forces in the war time. I see that there are a few blanks in parenthesis, which I suppose are missing translations of Chinese names. I've read from other books, and hope these informations are helpful:

Tsang Shang (曾生)
the Kwangtung People’s Resistance-Against-Japan Guerillas Unit (廣東人民抗日遊擊隊)
Tsoi Kwok Leung (蔡國樑)
Lau Pui (劉培)

The Chinese transaltion of these names is very useful.  

There are numerous mentions of the interaction between BAAG and the'Red' Guerillas, especially Tsang Shang, Tsoi Kwok Leung and Lau Pui,  in the BAAG papers.   Please contact me (through David Bellis?) if these would be of interest.  EMR.

Hi, are you Ms. Ride? Yes, that would be very useful! I'm not a historian, but I'm very interested in this part of Hong Kong history. Recently, 'Red' guerilla's 'patriotic' fight against Japanese is much glorified by the current Hong Kong government. Books were published, mainly consisted of interviews of old people who have joined the guerilla, but there is a lack of a third person account to give us another perspective of what really happened. There was a report on the Catholic archive in Hong Kong claiming that three priests were murdered in Sai Kung, possibly by communist guerilla in 1942. So it would be really helpful to know how the guerillas were perceived from the BAAG's point of view. And I wonder if you don't mind if I translate some of the BAAG reports into Chinese and put it on blog. Thanks very much! Cheong

Thank you, David,  I have contacted Cheong - starting with this extract from my father's escape diary. describing his first discussion with Kho kin etc.:and will take the subject on from there:

Jan 15th 1942. ... ...

" ... ...Left Kwai Chung at 1.30 our time and put clocks back 1½ hours.  Set off 1200 new time for Tien Sum with our 2 singing escort.  Met some H.K. refugees en route and heard that Japs had cut off water in Kowloon most probably to drive population away.  Took cover from aeroplane and cut through hills to avoid getting too near Japs.  Arrived Tien Sum at 1600 after good 12 mile walk and found 60 naval people under Admiral Chan Chak had been there 10-12 days before.   Very nice crowd at this village, clean, well dressed, well spoken.  Introduced to Kho Kin the head of the West Gs.  3 days to Waichow.  1st day to be done quietly at night as it is through Jap country, then 5 days on to Siu Kwan.  After we had had dinner of rice, pork, eggs and vegetables we were asked to go down to sleep in the house of one of the village elders.  He turned out to be a returned Ch. from Brit. Guiana ?Yip Chun Fong ?Dutchy Guinee.  While there we had a long talk from Mr. Kho Kin on G and Kuomintang work but I was really far too tired to take it in.  Will have a further discussion with him in the morning but from what I could gather between nods it seems that the Gs. not being an official body, are not treated as well as they think they  should be.  They are all from other parts, Siam, S'pore, Philippines, etc. and have given up everything to come back to their homeland with the sole purpose of harassing the Japs, and they are very disappointed and not a little disheartened that the official parties should not only not help them but actually hinder them.  Some people have tried to force them to join a party but they refuse saying they know nothing of Ch. politics.  They have but one aim.  Even the general of the army in the South Yu Hon Mou has lately refused to give them active support.         At this point I was given a fill of  ink by the surrounding friends [Editor's note:  Up to this point the diary had been written in pencil, but from now on is in ink]  YHM is the C in C of fighting area No.7, with HQ at Shiu Kwan.  6 Divisions of Central Army were sent to relieve H.K. and arrived at Ping Wu near railway line and were to cut off the Japs and also to make contact with the Gs. (about 90,000 men)  2 div = 1 gwan.  Sent 3 gwan.

"Friday 16th Jan.  ... ...

  Chan Kee is the commander of a party of Gs [Guerillas] who are pro [sic] Jap 2000 strong.  Jung Sung [Tsang Shang ] is the commander of the Gs here.  Wong Jok Yu is the Commander of another group of Gs called the 5th Group and these with Jung Sung's group form about one thous.  Chan Kee is taking up the line that Jung Sung and his group are bandits because they are not under him and he wants to mop them up, and occasionally at several points there has been actual fighting between the groups.   Formerly the Chkg [Chungking] Govt. recognised Jung Sung's group as being anti Jap but did not supply them with any arms or ammunition or money because they got it from overseas.  Now these supplies are cut off JS's group wish to have Cent.[Central] Gov. support but they are being blocked by the influence of Chan Kee.  JS's group were with the central army group at Shum Chun and when H.K. fell JS's group were left there.   They pushed through to Taipo and Sai Kwan, and are now in occupation of the whole area between the Japs on the Kowloon-Canton line in the south and the Jap line near Waichow in the north.  Chan Kee is in command of the official S.China Gs and rather objects to Jung Sung's group being active here.  JS's group have been in this area ever since the fall of Canton in 1938 and Chan Kee's lot are to the north of Waichow line.  Jung Sung's crowd are called Kwangtung Anti Jap Gs. and their duty is to harass Japs in the districts of Po On, Tung Koon and Wai Yung, and made over 200 engagements with Japs between 1938 and now, at the points of Shum Chun, Po Kut, and Ping Fu.  After the trouble between H.K. and the Nips [Nipponese]  they followed Nips, and their advance party reached Sai Kung, Tai Po and also Kowloon, and the objects for going there are (a) to estab. G movements there (b) to receive and transport refugees especially allied troops, and to transport them to Free China;  (c) and lately to collect arms and ammunition left in Kowloon;  (d) v.imp. to estab. food depot here to relieve food situation in Kowloon.    Today they are shipping 200 piculs of rice from here.  This a.m. Sgt. (Kong Sui) sent a letter through to Kho Kin saying that the Japs had occupied Sai Kung again making it very difficult for them there but they will know what to do.  There is a great shortage of food in Sai Kung and he asks that they shd estab. a food depot in To Yeung for the people in New Territories.  Also told him of our coming through and asks that if we can't stay and help the Gs that we should be given safe passage through to Yu Hon Mou's army.  Kho's requests are (a) to re-recognise that J.S's group are anti Jap Gs (b) that they (the Gvt) supply expenses as regards ammunition, arms, and other necessities i.e. expenses for the work (c) to unify the two groups No.5 (Wong Chok Yue) and No.3 (Chung Sung) under Chung Sung and any other groups that may be formed e.g. Gong Sui formed by the local people but not controlled by gov troops called local armed force - these work in association  with Gs (d) in the river district to have no more fighting between Chung Sung and Chan Kee's groups.  Fung Pak Koi in Malaya is establishing a similar movement there should the Japs control that part.    All this information was given by Kho Kin through [Francis] Lee in a private talk in a little back room today.  Spent a good night last night. ... ..."

Best regards Elizabeth.

… … …

Thanks very much for this additional information! It's interesting to read your father's first encounter with the guerillas. He must have walked a very long way through the hills in the New Territories.
There are a lot of name and places that I am not completely sure about, as there are a lot of synonyms in Cantonese and the transliteration is not standardized. I've put some of the names I recognised below. Hopefully I'll decipher more later. It's clear that there are a lot of in-fighting between the communist guerillas and pro-Kuomintang troops, and it seems the guerillas hoped that your father could carry the message to Kuomintang officials so that they can gain an official status.

Yu Hon Mou = 余漢謀 (Chief of Canton/Guangdong army, Kuomintang General)
Jung Sung = Chung Sung = Tsang Sang = 曾生 (The head of the red guerillas)
Kho Kin = 高健 (The head of the seventh team of the red guerillas)
Wong Chok Yue = 王作堯 (Another leader of the red guerillas)
Kong Sui (?)
Chan Kee (?) (Kuomintang troops)

Kwai Chung 葵涌 (It's close to Shum Shui Po POW camp in West Kowloon)
Tien Sum 田心 (It's a village in Tai Wai, New Territories)
Tai Po 大埔 (New Territories)
Ping Wu 平湖 (It seems to be a district in Shengzhen, but I'm not sure about it)
Shiu Kwan 韶關 (in northern Guangdong province)
Waichow 惠州 (in Guangdong province)
Po On 寶安 (in Guangdong province)
Tung Koon 東莞 (in Guangdong province) 
Wai Yung 惠陽 (in Guangdong province)

Best Regards, Cheong

Kong Sui was one of the guerillas who worked with Ronald Holmes (BAAG) during his reconnaisaance to occupied New Territories  in August 1942.  In his message No 4 dated 11.8.42 to Clague (BAAG) in Waichow he notes:

Kong Sui - a unit commander under Tsoi Kwok Leung who commands the 'Reds' in the Easter New Territories.

Siu Wa Kwai - unit commander under Tsoi Kwok Leung.  Fellow villager of Siu Tak Keung.  

In a report dated 5.7.43, Clague states:;

Siu Tak Keung - "There was formed about a month ago a new corps of officially controlled guerillas within the New Territories.  The name of this corps is TheKowloon Self Defence Corps.  This corps consists of 200-300 armed men under the leadership od Siu Tak Keung ... The Saikung area is still controlled by the 'Reds' under Tsang Shang and Tsoi Kwok Leung ..."

There are various other names in these reports, which I will be glad to pass on if anyone isinterested.

Regards, Elizabeth.

After searching the names in Chan Sui-jeung's book on East River Column, and Kwong Chi Keung's book "Road to Liberation: Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong",
Kong Sui is 江水
Siu Tak Keung is 蕭德強
- his guearilla group is funded by the Kuomintang government. From an online source which quoted the People's Daily 14 July 1958, he was executed by the communist government in 1958. (This need to be verified.)
Regards, Cheong

Yesterday I went to HK Heritage Project to read some of the reports in Elizabeth Ride's collection. I read about Mr. Lindsay Ride's full report on his escape and then realize that I was wrong in some translation in the previous comment. On Jan 15, Lindsay and his group had already left Sai Kung (西貢) on sampans with the help of Red guerillas, and they arrived at the shore of Mirs Bay.

Therefore, Kwai Chung is actually 葵涌 near the Mirs Bay, which I've confused with the district in Hong Kong which bears the same name. Tien Sum would be the name of a village there, instead of 田心 in Tai Wai, New Territories. It is harder to confirm the name of places in mainland China, as nowadays the name are usually transliterated in Mandarin Pinyin, while in those days, they were using Cantonese phonetics.

The collection is huge and I think I would need some time to read through it. One of the difficulty is the map coordinates mentioned by L.T.Ride and others. Mr. Ride had mentioned three maps he had been using: 1. (M.R.408712, H.K. and New Territories 1/20,000); 2. (L4682, HK and New Territories 1/80,000); 3. (H.K. and Canton 1/250,000). For example, when he talked about his escape, he always mentioned the places' name with a number, e.g. Sai Kung 305649. It would be very helpful if I could find the map he was using. I'm planning to write a blog dedicated to BAAG and other guerilla forces and will let you know when it's updated online. Thanks Elizabeth very much for your help!

It is in PDF format.  I don't know what could be done,  I remember giving Tony Banham a copy quite a while ago.  Perhaps he could produce a hard copy in HK.

Hong Kong & Canton

"Geographical Section General Staff 3825

Published at the War Office 1927

Names revised 1938"

Scale 1:250000

Hi Lawrence, you're also welcome to send the PDF to my email and I'll post it here for download, and also see if I can post it as an image so it can be viewed online. Later I'll add it as a map overlay, then it will be possible to add markers to show the escape route.

Regards, David

There's a map in Edwin Ride's book, and Elizabeth has also told me that a copy of the map L.T. Ride used is in the B.A.A.G. collection hosted by HKU library. But I think it is a good idea to put it on Google Map with an overlay map. This morning I've just tried to spot the locations on Google Map, and here you can view it:

The escape route of L.T. Ride & his fellows:

Perhaps David could put it up on another blog post on Gwulo? Thanks very much!

I have foud another  report from early 1942 on the guerilla situation around Hongkong. 

"From: Capt. D. Scriven, I.M.S.

To: Lt.Col. L.T.Ride

Date: 09.06.42

....  Four forces are at work:

(1)        Central Government

Locally represented by Chung's 187 (the Yat Chi) division of regular troops.  Cheung himself is a simple soldier of the very best type.  He was ordered six weeks ago to wipe out the so-called "Red" guerillas at Sha Yu Cheung and Pokut, and did the job as best he could;  he bears no personal enmity to these people, whom he described to me as "brave but mis-guided". 

(2)        Lo Kwan and his government guerillas.

These are the tricky bunch.  Lo Kwan is making his fortune by transporting people and goods from Hongkong to here, and his merry men are making their fortune by squeezing part of the goods.  He himself attributes every dacoity and theft as due to the "Reds", which is so much nonsense;  but he apparently hopes by discrediting these "Reds" to extend his own sphere of influence and tribute.  Not since the time I have been here has one heard of one of Lo Kwan's guerillas fighting the Japanese.  It is reckoned by the cynics (of whom I am one) that he has a gentlemen's  agreement with the Japanese.

(3)        The "Reds".

Up till six weeks ago, as you know, the three main nests of these was round Pokut, Sha Yu Chung and Saikung.  The thrusts of the "Yat Chi" were against the two former.  At Pokut one officer and seven other ranks were wounded amongst the regulars (the officer was a patient of mine here) but the unhappy Reds suffered fairly severely;  about twenty of both sexes were beheaded after the battle and fifty or so brought back as prisoners.  General Cheung told me that these were treated mercifully, and released on guarantees.  At Sha Yu CHung no fighting took place;  the "Reds" cleared out at the approach of the regulars.

Most of the "Reds" (less their leader Chang Shun) joined up with Chan Tat Ming round Saikung.  This continues to be a most inspiring centre of resistance, and no Japanese are to be found near it.

(4)        Irregular Bandits.

(Probably Lo Kwan's men on furlough) are operating.  At the moment there is no trouble"