Unlicensed miners in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong,1951
IDJ has sent the following newspaper report complaining about the arrest of unlicensed wolfram miners in the Tsuen Wan area of Hong Kong in 1951.
HF: I have retyped the report to aid clarity and searches on the website.
Thanks to SCT for proofreading the retyped version.
Except in the sense that it might be regarded as a reminder that Government authority is essential for mining in the Colony, Friday’s large scale police raid in the Tsun [sic] Wan area, roping in 700 unlicensed wolfram diggers, gives the impression, in the sequel, of something of a farce. Half of the delinquents were fined $5 and the remainder released after three days’ detention. Looking at that result, two thoughts immediately occur. If it represents the degree of importance attached to preventing illegal operations, surely 150 police officers engaged in several hours of special duty, could be more usefully employed elsewhere, Secondly, and perhaps more important, it might be asked whether or not it is preferable that seven hundred men, daily grubbing for a living in the hillsides, should be noted with a Nelsonian eye, rather than they should be thrust back into the streets of the city to become odd-job coolies or, worse, potential pickpockets and thieves.
Of public opinion on the possible alternatives, there can be no doubt at all – and the action taken by the Magistrates in the N.T. courts rather suggests a measure of agreement. Behind it all, of course, another issue arises and it is concerned with the absence of any clear Government policy in the matter of offering facilities for controlled mining rights. And this is even more astonishing today when mineral ores command high prices in the world market and short supply is the rule rather than the exception. As far as we can see, interested parties ready to invest in workable mining lodes, meet in Government departments with nothing but obstructionism. A more appropriate official approach could easily prove to be of considerable local benefit – and at the same time eliminate the need for swoops on hard working men now independently operating.
The images shown on the Home Page of this article, I have somewhat cheekily borrowed from Tymon Mellor’s, article, Lin Fa Shan Mine. Right year and subject matter but the wrong area of Hong Kong!
Source: The China Mail 28th August 1951
This article was first posted on 28th July 2021.
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