Saturday, 1 January 2011

Hong Kong's War Crimes Trials Collection Website

A new website on the war crimes trials held in Hong Kong from 1946-1948 has been alunched by Suzannah Linton. click here. Here are details from the press release issued by the Hong Kong University, which hosts the website:

The website provides details of, and access to, the database containing case files of 46 trials involving 123 persons who were tried in Hong Kong for war crimes committed during the Second World War. The four British War Crimes Courts in Hong Kong exercised jurisdiction over war crimes, meaning Ia violation of the laws and usages of war committed during any war in which His Majesty has been or may be engaged at any time since the 2nd September, 1939'. The courts dealt with cases from across Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories, and also from Formosa (Taiwan), China (Waichow and Shanghai), Japan and on the High Seas. The subject matter spanned war crimes committed during the fall of Hong Kong, during the occupation and in the period after the capitulation following the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but before the formal surrender.  They included killings of hors de combat, abuses in prisoner-of-war camps, abuse and murder of civilians during the military occupation, forced labour and offences on the High Seas.
The first trial, concerning the Silver Mine Bay Massacre on Lantau Island, began on 28 March 1946.  The last judgement, in the matter of detainee abuses in Shanghai, was promulgated on 18 February 1949 having been passed on 20 December 1948.  There were a total of 46 British war crimes trials in Hong Kong, of 123 individuals.  Of the 46 judgments issued, 44 were confirmed against 108 individuals, with 14 acquittals.  Two judgments were not confirmed:  there was one retrial following non-confirmation of the judgement, and one judgement was not confirmed but transferred to the Supreme Court. 

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