Sunday, May 2, 2010 | By: Rudi Butt

Opium Dossier

Updated (partial) on May 8, 2010

In this post I will share with readers documents I come across as matters of interesting.

Opium License Bond – this is the text of an actual bond signed and sealed in 1883. This is a printed document, words in lighter color fonts are particulars penned in by the clerk.

Know all men by these presents that WE Hung Kwong of the Kwong Shang Lung firm, No. 137 Queen’s Road Central and Luk Hing of the Wing Cheung firm, No. 177 Queen’s Road Central
are and each of us is held and firmly bound into Her Majesty the Queen Her Heirs and Successors in the penal sum of Five Hundred Dollars ($500) to be paid to Her said Majesty Her Heirs and Successors for which payment to be well and truly made we bind ourselves and each and every of us jointly and severally our and each of our heirs executors and administrators and every of them firmly by these presents SEALED with our respective seals and DATED this first day of March 1883.

WHEREAS the above bounden Public Factory, Sai-on Lane and to sell and retail opium so boiled and prepared at the Kwong Shang Lung firm, No. 137 Queen’s Road Central from the first day of March 1883, to the last day of February 1884, under the provisions of the Excise Ordinances (opium) 1858-1879 and upon and subject to the conditions made by the Governor in Council thereunder.

NOW THE CONDITION of this Bound is such that if the above bounden Hung Kwong shall and will duly and punctually pay to the Government the monthly and other fees whatsoever, subject to which the License is granted, and shall appear whenever he shall be thereunto required and duly pay all damages fines forfeitures and penalties whatsoever which shall or may be imposed in respect of the beach of any of the provisions of the said Excise Ordinances (opium) 1858-1879 and the conditions made thereunder THEN this Bond shall be void, otherwise shall remain in full force and virtue.

Signed sealed and delivered by all the above bounden parties in the presence of J.H. Stewart Lockhart [1] (signed)

Interpreted and explained to all the above bounden parties by Ho Fuk [2] (signed)

Hung Kwong 孔廣, Kwong Shang Lung firm 香港中環廣生隆 (sealed)

Luk Hing 陸慶, Wing Cheung firm 香港中環榮昌 (sealed)

Smugglers Wanted

The following notice was posted in the Hong Kong Telegraph [3] on June 20, 1905

Reward of $5,000 offered by the Undersigned for the Arrest and Conviction of any Person or Persons who are in the habit of Smuggling large quantity of Opium into his Colony.

Chin Joo Heng Co., Opium Farmers
The Chin Joo Heng firm was the opium farmer for that year and the monopoly cost the firm in excess of half a million dollars.


Undated photo of Lockhart
and daughter Mary
[1] James Haldane Stewart Lockhart; b.1858 Scotland – d.1937; graduate of Edinburgh University (Greek medalist); arrived in Hong Kong in 1879 as an Eastern Cadet; police magistrate (1881-1883); Registrar General (1883-1895); Colonial Secretary (1895–1902); Special Commissioner to Inspect and Report on the Extension of the Colony of Hong Kong, 1898; representative of Great Britain to delimit the boundaries of the extension of Hong Kong; first civil Commissioner of Weihaiwei (1902-1921); Doctor Honoris Causa, LL. D., Hong Kong University (1918); retired 1921; naming honor: Lockhart Road 駱克道.

Ho Fuk
[2] Ho Fuk or Ho Hook 何福; b.November 30, 1863 – d.?; graduate of Central School in 1881; worked in the Registrar-General's Department as translator in 1882; joined Dennys and Mossop, solicitors, as interpreter in 1883; joined Jardine, Matheson, where his elder half-brother Robert Ho-tung worked as the Head Comprador, as an assistant comprador in 1891; succeeded Ho-tung as comprador in 1900; co-founded the Chinese Merchants Bureau which was renamed in 1913 the Chinese Chamber of Commerce 中華總商會; member of the Legislative Council (1917-1921); grandfather of Stanley Ho 何鸿燊, property and gaming tycoon and Macau personage.

[3] Published on June 15, 1851, the Hong Kong Telegraph 士蔑報 was founded by Robert Frazer-Smith (b.? - d. February 9, 1895 Hong Kong) who also edited the newspaper. Frazer-Smith was often referred to as atrabilious and scandalous and had been jailed several times for libel. When Fraser-Smith died in 1895, the interest in the Hong Kong Telegraph was acquired by John Joseph Francis, solicitor and barrister, who was a sparring partner of Fraser-Smith, in-and-outside of the court-of-law. Francis retained the controlling interest of the newspaper until 1900, whereupon the newspaper company was sold to Robert Ho-tung and again to an American dentist Dr. Joseph W. Noble [a] in 1916 or 1917, who took on the role as publisher. The Hong Kong Telegraph merged with the South China Morning Post in the beginning of 1941. The two were split in 1946, and five years later in 1951 the Hong Kong Telegraph closed.
[a] Here is a side story about the first ever dental practice established in Hong Kong. Dr. Herbert Poate, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, established the first formal dental practice in Hong Kong in the early 1880s. In 1887, Dr. Joseph Noble, another UP alumnus, joined the Poate practice. They gave free dental service at the Alice Memorial Hospital, where the College of the Medicine was established. Noble later became a member of the Court (Board) of the College of Medicine and was involved in realizing the plan to incorporate the college into the University of Hong Kong.



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