After last week’s Austin Coates’ quote, I must also share his vivid reference to piracy in the Pearl River Delta:
“… [China’s new post-civil war government] did at least one notable service: it stamped out the piracy which had been endemic for centuries in the waters around Hongkong. For the first time since 1364 there was security of travel in the waters. The river steamers plying between Hongkong and Macao took down their barbed wire and machine guns round the captain’s bridge; and it was no longer necessary for night passengers, as a protection for themselves and their valuables, to be locked into their cabins by the huge chains which used to encircle the cabin sections of the ships.” (From “Myself a Mandarin: Memoirs of a Special Magistrate”)
Active piracy in the waters around Hong Kong up until 1949? Machine gun defense off the captain’s bridge?
A world away from the hydrofoils that whizz back and forth between Hong Kong and Macau today, where mere sea sickness is the biggest risk.
(“Myself a Mandarin: Memoirs of a Special Magistrate” by Austin Coates was originally published in 1968. My copy was published in 1980 by Heinemann Educational Books (Asia) Ltd.)