HISTORY – The Execution of The Namoa Pirates in Kowloon City, 1891 7


This old (and graphic) photograph shows the beheading of the 15 Namoa pirates in Kowloon City in 1891…

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On the 3rd of December, 1890, the Douglas, Lapraik, and Co’s coasting steamer, the ‘Namoa’ (commanded by Captain Thomas Guy Pocock) left for Swatow, Amoy, and Foochow. On board were several Europeans and a large number of Fuhkien Chinese passengers returning home from California.

The Namoa was attacked by daring Chinese pirates who poured out of a hatch in their dozens and – armed with revolvers – killed Captain Pocock. In a carefully planned raid, they ransacked luggage and robbed passengers of their treasured US dollars which each had been saving through years of toil.

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After debating whether to burn the Namoa, the pirates instead abandoned ship, allowed the hostages to live and transferred their booty to getaway ships. The public, however, were furious as the ship returned to Hong Kong… The pirates were arrested by the Chinese government and were sent to Kowloon city for execution . The beheadings occurred on April 17th and May 11th of 1891.

According to an article at executedtoday.com, it appears both the local and mainland governments welcomed their demise. Captain Thomas Guy Pocock has a memorial dedicated to him at Happy Valley Cemetery.

Pictorial histories of local landmarks and events…

Blog posts charting Hong Kong’s colourful past…