Friends of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch
November 25 @ 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Lecture and lunch
Saturday, 25th November
The Irishmen who policed old Hong Kong
Speaker: Patricia O’Sullivan
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Venue: Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD
Cost: £8 per member or guest, to include refreshments
Lunch: A self-paying lunch will be arranged at 12:45 p.m. at Chutneys, 124 Drummond Street, London NW1 2PA (corner of North Gower Street.) Tel: 020 7388 0604. Please tell Paul if you wish to join the lunch.
Booking: Paul Bolding at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 0207 684 5811.
Victorian and Edwardian Hong Kong was a melting pot of cultures, classes and races, where all were aiming to improve their lot and make money in the congested city. For the Hong Kong Police, the usual fare of maintaining order in the steep streets and winding alleys was periodically enlivened by the challenges of investigating triad murders, violent gang robberies, kidnappings etc. In addition, they had to avoid the ever present diseases which lurked through the city, including malaria, typhoid fever and smallpox.
Patricia O’Sullivan’s recent book, Policing Hong Kong – an Irish History portrays the lives of a score of men, all from the small town of Newmarket, Co. Cork, Ireland, who made the six-week journey to serve in the Hong Kong Police Force between 1864 and 1950. Here they would investigate mysterious murders, engage in running gun battles and search Chinese junks for pirates, weapons and opium. One man made his fortune, whilst another was caught up in a gambling scandal that ended his career and yet another lost his life in the biggest assault that the criminal world had made on the Police Force. Meanwhile, over the years they brought their Newmarket brides back to Hong Kong and built a close knit community of their own.
In this talk Patricia will share some of their police cases, give a glimpse of their lives in Colonial Hong Kong and explain some of the research methods for this unique story. Since completion of the book, Patricia has been researching, amongst other things, criminal women in pre-war Hong Kong and the Irish diaspora in the RAColonial Service. Her career as a music teacher has now been laid to one side in order to spend more time on Hong Kong’s fascinating history.