Israel SENGER [????-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Israel SENGER [????-????]


He was from Roumania (sic), married, barely understood English, and arrived in the Colony of Hong Kong circa May 1885 with sufficient funds to seek a licence of the Star Hotel from its then present landlord Mr Frederick Asmus Marthin Linde in 164 Queen's Road Central. He had previously run a public house in Roumania. 

The granting of the licence was refused on account of him being a stranger in the Colony of Hong Kong and was thus unable to furnish satisfactory documentation to the Justices' satisfaction to attest to his good character to hold such a licence.



“A MEETING of the Justices of the Peace is to be held in the Justices’ Room at the Magistracy, on Tuesday the 18th instant, at 11 a.m., for the purposes of taking into consideration an adjourned application from Israel Senger to take over the Spirit License of the Star Hotel from F.A. Linde, and to transact other business.”

Source: The China Mail, page 2, 13th August 1885


“A session of the Justices of the Peace of this colony will be held at the Magistracy on the 18th prox. to consider an application by Israel Senger to take over the licence of the Star Hotel, Queen’s-road Central, from the present landlord, F.A. Linde.”   

Source: Hong Kong Daily Press, page 2, 14th August 1885


"A SPECIAL meeting of the Justices of the Peace was held in the Justices' Room at the Magistracy this morning; present Messrs E. Mackean (Chairman), H.J.H. Tripp, and Granville Sharp.

An adjourned application was put in by Israel Senger to take over the spirit license of the Star Hotel from F.A. Linde. Mr Deacon, of the firm of Messrs Wotton and Deacon, appeared for the applicant, and produced a number of papers referring to the applicant's character and previous employment.

Mr Tripp objected to foreigners, of whom little or nothing was known in the Colony, being granted licenses, and his objections were supported by Mr Granville Sharp.

The adjourned application of C. Sharpiere for a license for a house to be called the Hotel d'Europe, at 204 Queen's Road Central, was also considered. Mr Caldwell appeared for the applicant. Mr Tripp urged the same objections as in the last application, and was again supported by Mr Sharp. 

The Captain Superintendent of Police being engaged at the Supreme Court, and consequently unable to be present to make his report, the further consideration of both applications was adjourned till Thursday next, the 20th instant."

Source: The China Mail, page 3, 18th August 1885  


"...the other application was from Israel Senger for the transfer of the licence of the Star Hotel, 164, Queen's road Central, from the present landlord, F.A.M. Linde, to himself. Mr. Deacon appeared for the applicant. Mr. Tripp also thought that in this case they did not know enough about the applicant, and the matter was also adjourned to Thursday."

Source: Hong Kong Daily Press, page 2, 19th August 1885   



An adjourned meeting of the Justices of the Peace was held in the Justices' Room at the Magistracy this morning; present, Messrs E. Mackean (Chairman), Granville Sharp, H.J.H. Tripp, and D.R. Crawford. Mr W.M. Deane, Captain Superintendent, appeared on behalf of the Police. An adjourned application from Israel Senger to take over the spirit license of the Star Hotel from Mr F.A. Linde, was first heard. Mr V. Deacon, of the firm of Wotton and Deacon, appeared for the applicant and put in a number of documents concerning his client, who is a Roumanian subject. Mr Deacon stated that he had been endeavouring, since last Tuesday, to get some local evidence as to the character of the applicant, but as his client had been only three months in the Colony this had been found impossible. The papers produced were, however, good, and all in order, and applicant had sufficient money to carry on the business if the license should be granted. Applicant spoke very little English, but would of course be amenable to all the licensing regulations. Mr Deacon held that the mere fact that applicant was a stranger here and unknown was no fair reason for refusing the license. The papers produced showed that his client had been a hotel keeper in Roumania. He was unable to say why his client had left his country. 

Mr Deane drew attention to the fact that the terms of the ordinance requiring two householders' signatures to back an application had been complied with by the signature of a Chinese compradore and an Indian shop-keeper, but as a matter of fact these men knew nothing about the applicant, and this he considered to be the first thing wanting. He also thought that any one to whom a license were granted should at least have sufficient knowledge of English to read the regulations on the subject. Under all the circumstances he should oppose the granting of the application.

Mr Tripp asked if there were not some of the publichouse keepers in Queen's Road foreigners. 

Upon referring to the list it was found that there were two foreigners who hold licenses but they had been so long in the Colony that they were supposed to have a knowledge of the langauge.

Mr Granville Sharp expressed amazemnet that such an application as the present should be backed up as this had been. A knowledge of the character of the applicant he considered the only ground upon which an application could be entertained, and there was no evidence produced as to the character of the present applicant. Mr Sharp then proceeded to draw a somewhat harrowing picture of the dangers to Jack ashore when he fell into the hands of a public-house keeper whose character was not above suspicion, and concluded by saying that it was not fair to throw upon the Justices the responsibility of proving that the applicant was not a proper person to whom to grant a license. 

Mr Deacon did not think that his client deserved the remarks made by Mr Sharp but admitted that as he was unknown it was impossible to prove him a fit and proper person; but as it was only until November next that the license would last, before renewal, he would ask the bench to grant the application.

After a short consideration, the Chairman informed Mr Deacon that his client's application had been refused, but that he could apply again in November.

Mr Deane said that he had not voted on either side; he did not think that it was well for the Captain Superintendent of Police to record a vote in these matters...."

Source: The China Mail, page 3, 20th August 1885


20th August 

An adjouned special meeting of the Licensing Justices was held at the Magistracy yesterday morning, the Justices present being Mr. E. Mackean, Stipendiary Magistrate (Chairman), Mr. W,M. Deane, Capt. Superintendent of Police, Mr. H.J.H. Tripp, Mr Granville Sharp, and Mr. D. Crawford. 


Mr. Deacon, on behalf of Mr. Israel Senger, again attended to renew the application of that individual for the transfer of the licence of the Star Hotel, Queen's-road Central, from the present landlord, Mr. F.A.M. Linde, to himself. He said that since the last meeting he had, in accordance with the suggestion of the bench, endeavoured to procure some evidence of identification of the applicant, but unfortunately it was impossible under the circumstances. Mr. Senger had only been about three months in the colony, and being an utter stranger here till then, he could produce no one to identify him. He had, however, supplied full papers and references, and his papers were in perfect order, and moreover he had come into the colony with sufficient money to purchase this house from the present owner. 

Mr Deane asked if the applicant was present.

Mr. Deacon - He is, but he does not understand English. Mr. Deacon went on to point out that this application was only for an interim licence up to next November when the annual meeting would be held, and if in the meantime the applicant was found to have misconducted himself in any way, the remedy was in the hands of the Justices, who could refuse to renew the licence. He had been in the colony three or four months, and had he been reported to the police at all during that time he (Mr. Deacon) should have hesitated to make this application, but his record was perfectly clean. He was so far as anyone knew in the colony, a respectable married man. The mere fact of his being a stranger to the colony should not prevent him from obtaining a licence, and it would be a serious thing to set up a policy of that kind here. He was a Roumanian, but he had sufficient knowledge of English to carry on a public house. He had carried on a public house in Roumania, as his papers would show, and he had never had any trouble in connection with it. He had furnished all the papers it was possible for him to supply, and they were in perfect order.

Mr. Mackean - You have no affidavit as to the reason of his leaving Roumania?

Mr. Deacon - No; I do not know personally that there was any reason for his leaving.

Mr. Deane said it seemed to him that a point for the Justices to consider was the fact that the Licensing Ordinance required that with an application of this kind there must be a certain number of householders in the city to certify that the applicant was of good character, and a fit and proper person to keep a public house. The certificate put in, he found, was signed by an Indian furniture broker, and a Chinese compradore, and they could not be in a position to certify anything of the kind of the applicant. In the next place he thought the applicant's knowledge of English was not sufficient, and that he ought at least to be able to read from the form what was required of him as an inn-keeper by law.

Mr. Mackean -  That can be explained to him.

Mr. Deane thought the applicant ought to know enough English to be able to read it. He further pointed out that the applicant was perfectly unknown, and the only means of identification he brought was a passport, which was nothing, as it was a thing anyone could get. He should advise that the transfer be not granted. 

Mr. Sharp thought that as far as the applicant's knowledge of English went, there were many innkeepers in the colony who had very little knowlegde of English. 

Mr. Deacon said that as regarded Mr. Deane's reference to the sureties, they were the same persons who were sureties for the present occupier, Mr Linde. 

Mr. Deane said that it was impossible that those individuals could know whether the applicant was of good character and a fit and proper person to be granted a licence to. 

Mr. Deacon said his client had a good smattering of English, and he thought he would understand what was required of him in English; if not it could be easily explained to him. He had a good interpreter present.

Mr. Deane asked if Mr. Deacon could call two witnesses to give the interpreter a good character.  

Mr. Deacon said he was not referring to the men's character, but to his ability as an interpreter, which was all they had to do with.

Mr. Mackean remarked that this was not an application for a new licence, only for the transfer of an old one.

Mr. Sharp - Mr. Deacon has brought forward a formidable array of papers from this man's certificate of birth, passport, even his personal marks &c., and Mr. Deacon would throw upon the Bench of Justices the responsibility of proving that this applicant is an unsuitable man. It seem to me that the fundamental ground upon which a licence is granted in the first place is that the applicant has established a reputation for steadiness and sobreity, and as a man of high character and integrity. One who will not yield to the constantly recurring temptation once, twice, or thrice a day, to put ten cents in his pockets by supplying drink to poor Jack when he has got more already than he can safely carry. It is the constant recurence of things of this kind in the year which totals up to the full amount of the licence, the $300 which is charged by the Government, and if that money is to be paid into the Treasury out of such cursed takings as these, I am sure that the Treasury, poor as it may be, would be far better off without this money in it. I must express my amazement that this application should have been brought forward so respectably, and so powerfully advocated as it has been. I think that the ground of character has hitherto been a well known one on which licences have been granted, and I hope for one that it will continue to be so in the future. There is nothing in all these papers which says one word as to this man's character. 

Mr. Deacon - That is quite impossible from the nature of the case. I scarcely think my client deserves the remarks which Mr. Sharp has used with regard to him. He has come here in a bona fide manner, provided with a sum of money to purchase this house from the present holder. Unfortunately he is unknown. It is a misfortune, but I do not think it calls for such remarks as have fallen from Mr. Granville Sharp. 

Mr. Mackean remarked that the document the two sureties offered was all the certificate they had.

Mr. Deacon again pointed out that if the licence was given, and the defendent misconducted himself the remedy would be in the Justices' hands as early as next November.

The court was then cleared, and on its being reopened.

The Chairman said - We have decided not to grant the transfer, as we think that the applicant is not sufficiently well known. 

Mr. Deacon asked if a residence in the colony up to next November, and a good character in the colony up to to that time would be a sufficient recommendation. 

Mr. Mackean said Mr. Deacon could, if he chose, again bring forward the application at the next annual meeting. 

Mr. Deane said he wished to state that he had not voted on this matter; he thought it was not right for him, as the chief of police, to do so."

Source: Hong Kong Daily Press, page 2, 21st August 1885