'Family Life' & 'Scenes of Carnage'

October 21, 2017




The two talks I'm giving in Hong Kong this autumn are on rather contrasting aspects of material I've been uncovering.  The talk at The Helena May at the end of this month (October) has as its subtitle 'Out East with the love of my life' - this really in response to the story I've very recently heard about the widow of Mortimor O'Sullivan, who lost his life in Gresson Street in 1918.  Finally, after years of searching, we've managed to be in contact with Mortimor's family.  His great-granddaughter told me how Nora, Mortimor's widow, after returning to Ireland with their two daughters, married again and emigrated to Chicago to join this man.  Within a short time he abandoned the family, and Nora - who'd lost her pension from Hong Kong on her 2nd marriage - was left to bring up the two girls and a daughter from this marriage by herself.  No wonder she still mourned the man who'd taken her to Hong Kong and was the 'love of her life'.  Full details can be found of this talk can be found at:  https://www.socialhistoryhk.com/news-and-events


 Then on 9th November I'm speaking for the Royal Asiatic Society.  I'm really pleased that its to be held in Café8 on Pier 8 .... but in their wisdom (?) the RAS haven't seen fit to tell anyone about it yet ... so here's the précis.  (Its also on the new-and-events page).



Pot-shots at the Police or What a difference (almost) a dozen years makes


Patricia O’Sullivan,  Café 8, Pier 8 Hong Kong, Thursday 9th November 2017


Under-resourced, under-supervised and ill-prepared, the three constables at the squalid Police Station on Cheung Chau stood no chance against the ruthless pirate gang in 1912.  Five more policemen lost their lives in a bloodbath in Wanchai that might have been averted by better coordination and information.  But travel forward just a little and the outcome at the hold-up in Canton Road is very different.  


These three incidents, spread over eleven years in the early part of the last century, were some of the most significant events for the Hong Kong Police Force at the time.  They also portray the journey of a force coming to terms with the new world of the early twentieth century, changing attitudes as much as developing resources.


Using material from her research for Policing Hong Kong - an Irish History and beyond,  (policemen in all three events had Newmarket, Co. Cork connections) Patricia O’Sullivan will revisit the (in)famous crime scenes and sketch some of the consequences and outcomes for Hong Kong’s police.

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