Wednesday, December 2, 2009 | By: Rudi Butt

Justices of The Peace

Updated (partial) on October 15, 2012

Henry Pottinger, on the fifth day, i.e. June 30, 1843, in office as Hong Kong's first Governor appointed the first official and unofficial Justices of the Peace in Hong Kong. They were forty four in number:

1 Alexander R. Johnstone (o)Assistant Chief Superintendent
2 William Caine (o)       Chief Magistrate
3 Charles Batten Hillier (o)British Vice-Consul in Macau
4 Alexander Anderson (o)Colonial Surgeon
5 George Balfour (o)Captain, British Madras Artillery Force; British Consul to Shanghai
6 George Thomas Brainemerchant; member of the Canton Chamber of Commerce, that became non-existent following the exodus of British merchant from Canton on May 23, 1839; close to the Morrison family (Robert, John Robert, Robert Jr.)
7 David Laing Burnmerchant; opium smuggler; senior partner in Macvicar and Co., Hong Kong and Canton
8 Charles Spencer Comptonmerchant; opium smuggler; founder of C.S. Compton and Co.; fined $200 by the British Consul in Canton for causing a riot by kicking over a Chinese stall and beating its owner with his stick
9 John Dentmerchant; opium smuggler; head of Dent and Co.
10 Francis Charles Drummondmerchant; opium smuggler; senior partenr in Dent and Co.
11 Patrick Dudgeonmerchant; opium smuggler; senior partner in Turner and Co., Hong Kong and Canton
12 Henry Dundasmerchant; opium smuggler; partner in Lindsay and Co., Hong Kong and Canton
13 Joseph Frost Edgermerchant; opium smuggler; representative of Jamieson Edger and Co., the Hong Kong branch of the Calcutta-based Jamieson How and Co.; became one of the first two unofficial members of the Legislative Council (1850-1857)
14 Angus Fletchermerchant; head of Fletcher and Co., Hong Kong
15 Alexander Thomas Gordon (o)Land Officer
16 John Darby Gibbmerchant; also active in Shanghai; founded the Horse-Racing Club in Shanghai together with William Hogg, Edward Langley, W. Parkin and Edward Webb in 1850; member of the Hong Kong Club
17 William Grey (o)Captain, British Royal Navy; commanded HMS Endymion between 1840 and 1843; fought in the First Opium War; became Admiral in 1865
18 Henry Gribble (o)Captain, British Royal Navy; commanded HMS Marquis Camden in 1838; became British Consul in Amoy in 1844
19 Henry Robert Harkermerchant; a partner in Gemmell, W. & T., and Co., Hong Kong
20 John Hollidaymerchant; opium smuggler; co-founder Holliday, Wise and Co.
21 Andrew Jardinemerchant; opium smuggler; partner in Jardine, Matheson and Co. (1839-1843), son of William Jardine's brother David Jardine
22 Crawford Kerrmerchant; Belgian consul-designate in Canton
23 George Tradescant Lay (o)naturalist on HMS Blossom, under the command of Captain Frederick Beechey; later became a missionary, sent out by the British and Foreign Bible Society and resided in Canton; author of "The Chinese as They Are: Their Moral, Social and Literary Character"
24 William Cairnes LeGeytmerchant; opium smuggler; partner in Macvicar and Co., Hong Kong and Canton
25 William Potter Livingstonmerchant; opium smuggler; co-founder of Gibb Livingston
26 Thomas William Lockwood Mackeanmerchant; opium smuggler; senior partner in Turner and Co., Hong Kong and Canton
27 George Alexander Malcolm (Lt. Col.) (o)Secretary of Legation (possibly an army lawyer as we know today) of the trade Mission led by Pottinger; famous as the person to courier the Treaty of Nanking from Nanking on September 16, 1842 to London for Queen Victoria's signatory, and then back to Hong Kong carrying the treaty to be exchanged in ratification with the Qing Chinese; spy-master, handler of Karl Gützlaff, a Prussian missionary who worked for the Briitsh and Hong Kong governments.
28 Alexander Mathesonmerchant; opium smuggler; nephew of James Matheson, co-founder of Jardine Matheson and Co.
29 John Ambrose Mercer (o)&nbsp
30 William Morgansea captain, of Pascoa, and later Scaleby Castle; Hong Kong agent for Jardine, Matheson and Co. from 1833
31 John Robert Morrisontranslator for the governor; member of the Legislative Council; publisher of the Hong Kong Gazette, and Friend of China (the first two English language newspaper publiched/circulated in Hong Kong), son of Robert Morrison, the first Christian Protestant missionary to have worked in China
32 William Pedder (o)Harbor Master, naming honor: the Pedder Street
33 John Rickettsea captain; owner and commander of the barque 'Austen'
34 Alexander Scott (o)newly arrived recording officer of the Admiralty and Criminal Courts of Hong Kong; died in Hong Kong (August 24, 1843)
35 Joseph Mackrill Smithmerchant; opium smuggler; employed by Bell and Co. in Canton from 1840
36 Charles Edward Stewart (o)Assistant Secretary and Treasurer
37 Patrick Stewartpurser on British East India Company ships for 12 years from 1815; authorized by Administrator of Hong Kong to open distribute ships' packets in Macau in 1841; appointed foreman of the Grand Jury in 1844; a close friend of George Chinnery, the famous China-trade painter
38 William Stewartcame to China in 1835; partner in Jardine Matheson and Co. (1842); died in Hong Kong (1846)
39 Robert Thom (o)Pottinger's interpreter; worked with Robert Morrison and John Robert Morrison
40 James White&nbsp
41 Alfred Wilkinsonmerchant; opium smuggler; a senior partner in Bell and Co., Hong Kong and Canton; founding member of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce
42 John Wisemerchant; opium smuggler; co-founder of Holiday, Wise and Co.
43 Richard Woosnam (o)Pottinger’s private secretary; previously an assistant surgeon of the British East India Company
44 Peter Youngmedical doctor; co-founder of Hong Kong Dispensary; later became Colonial Surgeon
Names are listed in the order as they were printed in the Friend of China

Unlike their modern day counterparts whose purviews are more ceremonial in substance, these JPs had actual judiciary duties and authorities. It's ironic that contraband traffickers were empowered to be ad-hoc justices of law. Fortunately, any person they convicted in penalty exceeding fifty dollars, or sentenced to imprisonment exceeding one month by a summary judgment(s) was entitled to appeal to the Magistrates (there was only one at that time, the Chief Magistrate - William Caine, who was an army officer prior to being appointed to this position).

Additional appointments in the Nineteenth Century

Date Name                    Descriptions
8/8/1843 Nicholas de St Croixowner and captain of merchant ship Laird, and a former captain of the British East India Company
10/18/1843  George Grey Sullivan (o)British Vice Consul designated at Amoy (Xiamen)
10/18/1843 Frederick Howe Hall 
3/28/1850 William Henry Mitchell (o)former editor of the Hong Kong Register; assistant Police Magistrate, Sheriff, Provost Marshal, Coroner, and Marshal of the Vice-admiralty Court
(o) Official

Chinese Justices of Peace

35 years later, in 1878, the first Chinese JP was appointed, he was known as Ng Choy 伍才 in Hong Kong (and Wu Tingfang 伍廷芳 in China) [1], the first Hong Kong Chinese barrister, who was also appointed the first Chinese Unofficial Member of the Legislative Council. More than a century went by, in 1948, did the first woman JP [2] appear --- a women's rights activist and philanthropist, Ellen Li (Mrs.) 李曹秀群 who was also the first woman in Hong Kong to receive a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) (1974).

Ng Choy
[1] Ng Choy 伍才, aka Wu Tingfang 伍廷芳, b.1842 Malacca - d.1922 Canton); schooling: St. Paul's College (Hong Kong), University College London (now London University); called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1876, became the first Chinese barrister, returned to Hong Kong to practice law, appointed the first Chinese Justice of the Peace in 1878, appointed the first Chinese Unofficial Member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (1880), appointed by Qing China as Minister to USA, Spain and Peru (1896-1902 and 1907-1909), appointed by the Nanjing Provisional Government of the Republic of China as Minister of Justice in 1912, held two most important portfolios – Foreign Affairs and Finance – as a Minister in Dr. Sun Yat Sen's cabinet in 1917 and, later on rose to the position of Acting Premier of ROC.

[2] Women in Britain were not allowed to become JPs until 1919, the first woman JP was Ada Summers, the Mayor of Stalybridge (in Greater Manchester), who was a JP by virtue of her office.

Ellen Li
[3] Ellen Li 李曹秀群 (1908 Shanghai - 2005 Hong Kong) LL.D. (University of Hong Kong 1969) CBE (1974), JP (1948)  schooling: St. Stephen's Girls' College in Hong Kong, Shanghai University; relocated to Hong Kong in 1934, founded Women's Club and the Hong Kong Council of Women, life-long associations with the YWCA and the Family Planning Association, the first woman member of the Legislative Council (1966-1974); wife of Li Shu Pui 李樹培, MD (the late Superintendent of the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital); the Dr. Ellen Li Foundation established in November 2005 in her memory supports the Hong Kong Hereditary and High Risk Breast Cancer Program.

Chinese Justices of the Peace Existing in 1959

This is an incredible list that I've found. It's too good not to be shared. Biographies will be added to the names as and when I can find them.

Official (date of appointment)  
Au Wai-sum 區煒森 (9/1/1956) Chan Jiu-kwai 陳照奎(4/5/1957)
Chan Man-cheuk 陳文焯 (3/21/1958) Cheng Dung-choi 鄭楝材 (9/1/1956)
Cheng Ho-ai 鄭何艾 (12/11/1947) Fong Yik-fai 方奕輝 (6/4/1956)
Fung Yui-shiu 馮銳韶 (4/28/1953) - Education Officer, later first Principal of Wong Shiu Chi Secondary School 王肇枝中學 in Tai Po Leung Bing-hin 梁秉憲 (4/28/1953)
C.N. Li 李孑農 (1/1/1958) - head of the Emergency Relief Section, Social Welfare Office, later assistant Director of the Social Welfare Office, later assistant Secretary for Chinese Affairs; MBE (1953) Simon Li Fook-sean 李福善 (3/2/1953) - b.1922- ; LL.B, London University (1950); Barrister, Lincoln's Inn (1951); crown counsel, Magistrate, District Judge, High Court Judge (1971), Justice of Appeal (1980), VP, Court of Appeal (1984); mbr., Drafting Cmte. for the Basic Law; dir., Bank of East Asia, Hong Kong's first Chinese owned local bank founded by his father
Seto ji-yan 司徒志仁 (8/21/1958) So Pak-sui 蘇栢燧 (1/13/1954) 
Tang Ping-fai 鄧炳輝 (6/6/1947) Tsui Ka-cheong 徐家祥 (2/3/1950)
Yau King-wah 邱景華 (3/2/1953) Yeung Yuen-wing 楊元榮 (6/6/1947)
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Post 1997 Appointments

The institution of the Justices of the Peace continued after 1997 as Hong Kong became a special administrative region of PRC. The first appointments were made on July 1, 1998, appointee included Fok Tsun-ting, Timothy 霍震霆, who is a member of the International Olympic Committee, President of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong and Vice-President of the Olympic Council of Asia.

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