Hong Kong executions, 1940s | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Hong Kong executions, 1940s

Can anyone help with some information? My partner claims his Mother's Aunt's husband's first wife was the last woman to be executed in Hong Kong. There is some truth to this, but I suspect she wasn't the last... All I know is that this execution took place in Hong Kong in the late 1940s, and it involved a woman who poisoned her children and workers in the shop the family owned in Western district. The husband survived, went on to remarry and had a second family. The first wife was seldom if ever dicsussed. I've googled this of course, but have only come up with a Singaporean hostess who was hanged in Hong Kong in the 1960s... Nothing earlier... Can anyone add to what I already know, or point me in the right direction?



I seem to remember Patricia O'Sullivan's recent book: https://www.blacksmithbooks.com/books/women-crime-and-the-courts-hong-ko... has a mention of the execution you refer to - however, I don't have my copy to hand to confirm. Patricia is a regular contributor here so perhaps she is able to answer in more detail if she sees this.


Patricia's book only covers 1841-1941. On page 295 she records the last execution while Hong Kong was under British administration, which also happened to be the execution of a woman. This was Kwan Lai-chun , hanged at Stanley Prison at 5.02 am on 31 July, 1940. Patricia cites the China Mail, 31st July 1940 and South China Morning Post, 1st August 1940 for other details.

What Patricia wrote regarding Kwan Lai-chun is:

"Her execution was just the second time that judicial capital punishment was enacted on a woman in the colony. It was also the last time while Hong Kong was under British rule."

To me that is clearly meant to convey that it was the last execution of a woman under British rule, not the last execution of anyone. But if that isn't how others read it then I take a little of the blame since I was the editor of this book on behalf of Blacksmith Books!

The only other execution of a woman in British Hong Kong, according to Patricia, was of one Chan Pak on 28th November 1923, the case being described on pages 227-233 of her book.

The Singaporean hostess execution you came across might be this one in Singapore in 1973. There was a Hong Kong connection, but that wasn't where she was tried and executed. The last execution of anyone in Hong Kong (so far, although under Chinese rule I guess executions may return in future) was that of Lau Pui in 1966.

Of course it's conceivable that Patricia might have made an error which I didn't catch, so if you (@keilinghalowai) still have the link to the mention of a 1960s execution of a woman in HK then please post it here!

Dear keilinghalowai,

The following link might be the incident you mentioned. With the newspaper cuttings in the linked website, the descriptions there outlined what had probably happened, though some definitely written in the style of a fiction to attract and amuse readers.