Women, Crime and the Courts - Hong Kong 1841-1941 Book announcement
For some years I have been uncovering the crimes and misdemeanours committed by women in Hong Kong during its first century as a British colony. Now, towards the end of this year, Women, Crime and the Courts - Hong Kong 1841-1941 will see the light of day, published by Hong Kong's own Blacksmith Books. There are grisly murders and heartless kidnappings, but also the more mundane and trivial crimes. There's the squabble over a pail of dirty water, a young mother who tried to hide some illegal opium in her baby's clothes (how did the policeman know where to look??), and the women chopping down trees for firewood as fast as the Forestry Dept. could plant them. It is difficult to find information about the lives of women during the first hundred years - especially the ordinary, working-class women, whether Chinese or foreign. But women and girls do appear in the newspaper reports as defendants (and plaintiffs, too) at the courts, at the Magistracy. Here we may catch a glimpse or two of their world, as they try desperately to make ends meet, or cope with continual arguements between themselves and their husband's concubine, or eye the chance of quick profit to be made from someone less fortunate than themselves.
I'm currently in the UK, and its difficult to believe that I will be able to get back to Hong Kong this year, so the launch of Women, Crime and the Courts will be a little different - but details will follow.
The help and support of David and the Gwulo community has been invaluable in my researches - thank you all.