Friday, August 14, 2009 | By: Rudi Butt

Police Chief Without A Police Force

William Caine (威廉·堅恩) was appointed the first chief magistrate in Hong Kong in 1841, an office he held until 1844. Included in the purview of the chief magistrate is the responsibility of law enforcement of the colony. Here is the text of the announcement of Caine's appointment.

Pending His Majesty's further pleasure, I do hereby constitute and appoint you, William Caine Esquire, brevet major, and Captain in Her Majesty's 26th Regiment of Infantry, to be Chief Magistrate of the Island of Hongkong and its dependencies: and I do hereby empower and require you to exercise authority according to the laws, customs and usages of China as near as may be (every description of torture expected).

[Signed] His Excellency Sir Henry Pottinger

Caine converted 35 infantry soldiers to form his initial police team. The formal Hong Kong Police Force would not come into existance until 3 years later, on May 1, 1844.

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