Tuesday, 12 January 2016

A Chinese Vendetta

A Chinese man whose father was poisoned caught up with his killer in Liverpool and was sentenced to death after stabbing him.

At around 5pm on 31st January 1943 cries were heard coming from the library of the Chinese Seaman's Welfare Centre in Bedford Street North. A man named Wing Kee Foong who went to investigate saw two men clawing at each others throats, covered in blood. 

One of those fighting was Foong's fellow ship's steward, 24 year old Hung Leung, who appeared to be gaining the upper hand. Foong asked what was going on and Leung explained that four years earlier in China his father had been poisoned by the man he was fighting with, Chang Ling Fok. Foong tried to persuade Leung to let go, but knowing that it was custom the death should be avenged, he had little hope of doing so. Even when warned he could hang, Leung said he was prepared for that.

When Fok 33 year old arrived at hospital he was already dead, a broken knife being found embedded in his neck. Leung was committed for trial at the Manchester assizes where he was asked by the judge how he was sure that Fok had killed his father. He replied that he had been told by his mother, the police and other members of the household. He then resigned his job and joined a shipping company, eventually tracking Fok down in Liverpool after taking lodgings in Aigburth Road. Leung explained that Fok had stolen $59,000 from his father and begged forgiveness when found, saying he had been destitute and starving at the time.

Leung was found guilty but with a strong recommendation for mercy by the jury. He was sentenced to death but later reprieved by the Home Secretary and the the sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

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