Leung Hung

A Japanese summary of one of the three trials held on October 19, 1943, captured by the British Army Aid Group after the liberation of Hong Kong, has this to say about the ‘crimes’ of Leung Hung:

The accused LEUNG HUNG was employed by the Governor-General’s Department, and worked as head coolie of the truck taking supplies into the internment camp. About December 1942, he was approached by SINTON1 and asked to convey articles into the Internment Camp. He agreed to do this, although he knew that permission from a Japanese official was necessary. By June 1943 he had taken several messages and sums of money addressed to BRADLEY2 through HALL3 who was also in the Internment Camp. In April 1943 he was asked by SINTON to convey important documents through the same channels. He agreed to do this, and duly delivered the documents.4

Leung Hung was generally known as ‘Jimmy’ by the internees. The Captured Document gives the figure of ten messages sent from Bradley to Sinton between March and June 1943., but it’s certain he was responsible for far more than this. According to George Wright-Nooth, he made ‘countless trips’ smuggling food, money and messages both in and out of Stanley.5 For example, he used his Kowloon Bus Company ration truck to smuggle in various items, including vitamin-enriched chocolates in flat tins to be smuggled onwards into Stanley Prison, where the diet meant that death from malnutrition was almost unavoidable without supplementation.

However, in February 1943 the Kempeitai (Gendarmes) began a ‘strike back’ against the many resistance activities that had sprung up in Japanese Hong Kong. As early as October 1942 they had suspected the ration lorry was involved in smuggling; R. E. Jones’s diary entry for October 26 reads:

Lorry coolies ordered to hold no conversation with Internees.

Once bread deliveries to Stanley stopped in May 1942 the ration lorry was almost the only daily contact between the camp and the outside world, and therefore any smuggling into or out of the camp was highly likely to use this route; I’m sure Mr Leung realised the great risk he was running.

In March 1943 Mr Leung told camp quartermaster William Anderson to expect a highly secret message, concealed in a cigarette, a message that he must pass on to Frederick Hall, who would know what to do with it. Anderson received this message, but it was noted that Mr Leung seemed nervous:

(He) had the feeling that Chinese spies were watching the ration truck carefully in camp, especially at the canteen (where Hall worked) on its daily delivery.6

Mr Hall was warned to stay away from the truck, but at first ignored the advice. The message was indeed important, and was presumably the one singled out in the Captured Document: it contained instructions from the BAAG Advanced HQ at Waichow to listen in on the 40 metre wave band ā€“ the plan was to open up direct communications between the resistance and Stanley using a radio operated by Douglas Waterton7 and Stanley Rees.

These two men, alongside Sinton, Bradley, Hall, Anderson and others in the resistance network, were arrested in May and June 1943. Some time in the second half of August, William Anderson noted:

I saw (Mr Leung) being brought in to ‘G’ Block by the Gendarmes. He occupied a cell nearly opposite me. He looked surprised when he saw me looking out of my cell door opening…He specially asked me if ‘Darkie’ Chan had been arrested and when I relied ‘no’ he seemed relieved. He also said voluntarily that he would not ‘talk’ and I replied that was the spirit of all our friends.8

‘G’ Block was used to hold prisoners for initial interrogation, so this probably means he was one of the last of this network to be arrested. Chan Kai Wai was a very lucky man: he was taken in by the Gendarmes on the totally justified suspicion of being involved in illegal activities in Stanley ā€“ he was working with Chester Bennett9 taking messages and money in and out of camp for the canteen.10 On his arrival at the Gendarmerie HQ, he was hugely surprised and to see Stanley Camp’s Second-in-Command Mr. Nagasawa appear and say that nothing could be proved and he should be allowed to return to Stanley. Sensibly he fled to Free China soon after.11

Leung Hung was tried on the morning of October 19 in a group of 27. Few men had served the resistance for such a long period and the sentence can never have been in doubt. This courageous agent was executed alongside 31 other men and 1 woman on Stanley Beach, on October 29, 1943.

1https://brianedgar.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/alexander-christie-sinton/

2https://brianedgar.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/frederick-william-bradley/

3https://brianedgar.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/frederick-ivan-hall/

4Part of the Ride Papers, kindly sent to me by Elizabeth Ride.

5George Wright-Nooth, Prisoner of the Turnip Heads, 1994, 1452.

6Wright-Nooth, 1994, 155.

7https://brianedgar.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/he-didnt-know-anything-about-the-news/

8Wright-Nooth, 1994, 171.

9https://brianedgar.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/chester-bennett-the-american-hero-of-hong-kong/

10Wright-Nooth, 1994, 159.

11Wright-Nooth, 1994, 159.

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  1. Pingback: Walter Richardson Scott | The Dark World's Fire: Tom and Lena Edgar in War

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