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Policing Hong Kong – An Irish History

$18.95

by Patricia O’Sullivan

Part of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies Series

Hong Kong, 1918. A tranquil place compared to war-torn Europe. But on the morning of the 22nd January, a running battle through the streets of Wanchai ended in “The Siege of Gresson Street”. Five policemen lay dead, so shocking Hong Kong that over half the population turned out to watch their funeral procession.

One of the dead, Inspector Mortimor O’Sullivan, came from Newmarket: a small town nestled deep in rural Ireland. He, along with a dozen and more relatives, had sailed out to Hong Kong to join the Police Force.

Using family records and memories alongside extensive research in Hong Kong, Ireland and London, Patricia O’Sullivan tells the story of these policemen and the criminals they dealt with. This book also gives a rare glimpse into the day-to-day life of working-class Europeans at the time, as it follows the Newmarket men, their wives and families, from their first arrival in 1864 through to 1941 and beyond.

“This groundbreaking book is a story of life, death, and crime in colonial Hong Kong. It is also an account of an important part of Hong Kong’s population that has eluded most historians: the European working class. With an arsenal of previously untapped materials in Ireland, Britain and Hong Kong, Patricia O’Sullivan tells the remarkable tales of the families who built their own ‘little Ireland’ in Hong Kong.” – John M. Carroll, Dept. of History, University of Hong Kong

Look inside this book
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Introduction

ISBN: 978-988-77927-3-4 Categories: , Tags: ,

Description

Hong Kong, 1918. A tranquil place compared to war-torn Europe. But on the morning of the 22nd January, a running battle through the streets of Wanchai ended in “The Siege of Gresson Street”. Five policemen lay dead, so shocking Hong Kong that over half the population turned out to watch their funeral procession. One of the dead, Inspector Mortimor O’Sullivan, came from Newmarket: a small town nestled deep in rural Ireland. He, along with a dozen and more relatives, had sailed out to Hong Kong to join the Police Force. Using family records and memories alongside extensive research in Hong Kong, Ireland and London, Patricia O’Sullivan tells the story of these policemen and the criminals they dealt with. This book also gives a rare glimpse into the day-to-day life of working-class Europeans at the time, as it follows the Newmarket men, their wives and families, from their first arrival in 1864 through to 1941 and beyond.

“Beginning with the ill-starred arrival in 1873 of a lone Irishman from Newmarket, County Cork, to be a policeman, followed by twenty more from the same town, and ending with the death of the last man in 1950, this groundbreaking book is a story of life, death, and crime in colonial Hong Kong. It is also an account of an important part of Hong Kong’s population that has eluded most historians: the European working class. With an arsenal of previously untapped materials in Ireland, Britain and Hong Kong, Patricia O’Sullivan, granddaughter and great-niece of two of these policemen, tells the remarkable tales of the families who over eighty-five years built their own ‘little Ireland’ in Hong Kong.” – John M. Carroll, Dept. of History, University of Hong Kong, author of A Concise History of Hong Kong and Edge of Empire: Chinese Elites and British Colonials in Hong Kong

Policing Hong Kong – An Irish History was featured in the Corkman newspaper

Additional information

Dimensions140 x 216 mm
Pages

360

Binding

Paperback

Illustrations

8-page colour photo section, maps, 40 B&W images

About the author

Patricia O’Sullivan is a writer and researcher on the lesser-known aspects of Hong Kong’s history prior to 1941. Stumbling upon an article concerning the death of her great-uncle in 1918 when an inspector in the Hong Kong Police, she quickly became immersed in the social history of colonial Hong Kong.

As a specialist recorder teacher, in a career spanning three decades and more, she has had the joy both of introducing thousands of children to music and developing the skills and musicianship of senior students to diploma level and beyond. Now she has scaled down this side of her life to give more time to writing – and to spend more time in Hong Kong doing the research.

Whilst Patricia continues to unearth the contributions made by working-class Irish in the colony, next in line is a book about some of the criminal women of early 20th-century Hong Kong: fraudsters, arsonists, murderers and one ‘neighbour from hell’.

Her website is at www.socialhistoryhk.com