News clippings related to PRC oystermen's abduction & killing of Laufaushan oystermen 沙井蠔業大隊到流浮山擄殺蠔民事件

SCMP, 7 September 1970

The Straits Times, 19 November 1970

The horror bodies that float in from China

David Baird in Hong Kong reports on a strange sight

IT LAY spreadeagled, half-buried in the sand of a quiet beach, the flesh torn away from one leg. The eyes sightless. The body of a young Chinese student.

He had made a desperate bid for freedom. But he would never know he had reached his goal. By the time the tide tossed him ashore on Hong Kong's side of the border, with Communist China he had succumbed to exhaustion.

In recent weeks fishermen and police have picked up more than a score of such bodies from the waters of Deep Bay in the colony’s north-west corner. Others have been discovered in the Castle Peak and Shataukok areas.

- Swimmers -

Floating on inflated inner tubes or air pillows, the freedom swimmers push oft from neighbouring areas of China under cover of darkness, hoping to evade the vigilant PLA guards and reach the capitalist haven of Hong Kong.

Refugees from China are common arrivals here. But in the last week the number of those attempting the hazardous crossing has soared.

They have attempted the long swim because the sea's temperature is fast becoming cooler and soon only the toughest will be able to survive. But in many cases sea currents have carried them off course — and after 24 hours or so in the water they have lost their grip on life.

- Reasons -
What are they fleeing from? There are all the usual economic reasons and ties with relatives already in Hong Kong.

There are also reports of a new purge in China, a new agonising process of self pronunciation for those whose political loyalties are suspected.

The Communist Party's central committee has decided to cadres must do more than merely mouth the thoughts of Mao. Crash courses in Mao philosophy have been called for.

There is no “leisurely way” to make revolution is the current message — Mao’s ideology must be studied more thoroughly and more strictly. 

The some Chinese have already had a bellyful of humiliation and self-criticism. The new drive may have been enough to push them to make a desperate bid to get out.

Particularly for many of the thousands of youngsters exiled to the countryside "to learn from the peasants”. It may have been the last straw.

According to 2 refugees, aged 16 and 19, who reached the century of Hong Kong after swimming across Deep Bay. Hundreds of runaway students are hiding out in the hills ready to make a break for the bright lights of Hong Kong. No one knows how many have already tried – and failed.

- Unwelcome - 
For Hong Kong the situation is unwelcome because the Laufaushan area has lately been the scene of bloody feuds between local fishermen and Communist rivals.

Both sides lay claim to the same oyster beds and in September two Hong Kong oystermen were kidnapped by intruders from China. Later it was discovered they had been brutally murdered – prompting official complaints by the Hong Kong government to the Communist authority.

Tension is still high in the Laufaushan District. And the “horror bodies” — as the local press has dubbed the corpses — have done nothing to damp it down.

- Question - 
As one villager said: “They're calling them the tides of death. Who knows what they'll bring in next?"

In the summer of 1968, Hong Kong and Macao discovered scores of bodies which had drifted down the Pearl River, bearing signs of violence, those bodies were believed to have been murdered in the strife that attended the end of the Cultural Revolution.
SCMP, 7 September 1970
華報社評摘要 From the Chinese Press

Firm line urged on abductions

GOVERNMENT was warned that tolerance and appeasement of intruders violating Hongkong's territorial borders to abduct people could encourage Maoist elements to become even bolder.

Other dailies feared that the abductions at Laufaushan could generate uneasiness and make the people lose confidence in the maintenance of law and order.

Most of the newspapers welcomed Government's new pay rise for civil servants but one prominent evening publication said it could stimulate increased prices of commodities and add to the burdens of the community.

The forcible abduction of Laufaushan oyster farmers was not only in outrageous repetition of similar acts previously, but open defiance of the Hongkong Government, observed the Hongkong Times.

It warned that if Government's past policy of tolerance and appeasement were exercised, it would amount to encouraging the Maoist elements to carry out bolder and nefarious activities.

Government, it suggested, should strengthen border defences and provide adequate protection of the oyster farmers near the border, it added that the kidnapping was an outrageous, violation of Hongkong's territorial jurisdiction and that a strong protest to the Chinese authorities concerned was called for.

Referring to the abduction of seven Laufaushan oyster farmers, the Sing Tao Jih Pao said that although it was not, the first of its kind, the incident was far more serious than the others. It feared that the violation of Hongkong' s territorial integrity by Chinese commune members to carry out their kidnapping would create uneasiness among people about the maintenance of peace and order along the border.

The newspaper hoped Government would act to reassure, the people in the New Territories that law and order would be upheld.

The Express said Government must shoulder the responsibility for the freedom with which communists were able to intrude into Hong Kong's territory and forcibly abduct people.

It was also concerned at the freedom with which people could be detained and beaten, in a hut used for Mao studies.

The New Life Evening Post expressed concern over the possible effects on the general economy of Government's award of another pay increase to civil servants.

It blamed Government for starting what it called the "malignant pay increase adding that any increase for civil servants always brought suffering to others".

It wondered if Government ever considered the consequences of its actions in such matters.

The Kung Sheung Man Po felt that the pay rise was relatively insignificant and consequently would not stimulate increases in commodity prices.

It explained that the rise in salaries of civil servants came in the wake of similar pay rises in the industrial and commercial sectors.

The newspaper was particularly happy that the increase given to low-grade employees was higher than those awarded to others.

The pay rise for civil servants in the low-income bracket was no doubt justified but the question of whether the increase could compensate for soaring price of commodities was another question, said the communist Sheung Po.

It added that the increase was a mere token when compared with the pay rise given to superscale staff.

The communist Ching Po dismissed the pay increase as a mere gesture similar to the increase awarded in January last.

The rise of four to six per cent was unjust being of no substantial help to poorly-paid employees, it claimed.

The fact that the Chartered Bank robbery occurred on the very day the new Theft Ordinance went into effect was sheer coincidence, not a deliberate attempt to “shave the eyebrows” of the police, observed the Sing Tao Wan Pao.

Nevertheless, it added, the armed robbery in broad daylight was an adequate demonstration of the necessity for the new legislation which, providing a term of life imprisonment should act as an effective deterrent.

The communist New Evening News was more concerned with the weapons used in the robbery than with the holdup itself. It noted that the robbers were armed with revolvers a hand grenade and that the lookout had a rifle, and it reasoned that only those with connections with "U.S. imperialists" could have access to such weapons, smuggled from Taiwan and South Vietnam.

It called the authorities concerned to investigate the source of the weapons, otherwise, it warned there would be no end of holdups and the public would have no peace.
SCMP, 4 September 1970

Mao thought hut still stands

The chicken coop that was being used as a meeting place and classroom for the study of Mao thought in Laufaushan was still standing yesterday, 24 hours after the expiry of a two-day notice served by the authorities who had asked cause to be shown why it should not be demolished.

The holder of the permit for the hut, Mrs Chan Yiu-kuen, went with her husband to the District Office on Saturday with a request that the hut be spared.

She did not then give the necessary proof to show that the structure was built and used in accordance with the conditions of the permit which described it as a chicken coop.

The Government had served notice on the permit-holder last Thursday demanding proof within 48 hours that the hut was not being used for anything other than that of a farm house. If such proof was not forthcoming, the authorities had announced they would pull down the hut as an illegal structure.
SCMP, 3 September 1970

Police patrols in Laufaushan intensified

Police have intensified their patrols in the Laufaushan area following the abduction of seven Hongkong oystermen on Tuesday afternoon by Chinese commune workers from across Deep Bay.

Marine police launches were seen patrolling inside Hongkong waters in Deep Bay.

Although the gathering of oysters was somewhat curtailed because of the incident, the supply of fresh oysters in Laufaushan stalls was not affected.

It has now been established that even people were forcibly taken across at gunpoint. The eighth person previously to be kidnapped reported twice to police once by his surname and the second time by his "alias".

Police meanwhile have succeeded in locating one of the witnesses to the abduction and he has been asked to recount what had happened during the kidnapping.

He is Mr Lau Wo-shing, a vegetable farmer, who was working close by at the time of the abduction.

Meanwhile, reports circulated in Laufaushan that Mr Tsang Ngau, owner of an oyster farm and his two sons were likely to face a public trial on a charge of theft of Chinese Government
property. Another report said the other four abducted workers might soon be released.

- Families aided -

The Yuen Long District Office yesterday distributed relief supplies to the families of the abducted oystermen.

Chen Yau-fook, one of the workers of the oyster farm owner, was glad that he fell sick on the day of the incident.

Mr Chen, 20, who would have met the same fate had he been well, said yesterday that he escaped from China in 1968 by swimming across the bay to Laufaushan.
SCMP, 3 September 1970

China asked about abduction

A Government spokesman confirmed last night that the Government had made representations to the Chinese authorities over the abduction of eight Laufaushan oyster farmers on Tuesday evening by Chinese commune workers from across Deep Bay.

The abduction occurred shortly before 6 pm about 1,000 yards from Pak Nei on the Hongkong shore of Deep Bay and two miles from Laufaushan.

A farmer said he heard several reports that sounded like small arms fire at the time of the abduction. Other in Laufaushan said they believed the communists were angry about the theft of oysters planted by them in the vicinity for fattening.

The eight men — Mr Tsang Ngau, 45, owner of an oyster farm and his two sons, Mr Tsang Ping-lam, 27, and Mr Tsang Cho-hing, 20, four labourers, Mr Ng Sai-lo, Mr Tang Lo, Mr Tang Wah-yau and Mr Wong Fu, and an unidentified fisherman — were working on an oyster farm close to the Chinese plot when they were abducted.

A police source said about 20 men, together with one or two armed men in uniform., came across to the Hongkong side in two motorised junks and kidnapped the Laufaushan farmers who were in two sampans.
SCMP, 3 September 1970

Laufaushan danger

The time had come indeed, it is long overdue for the Government to positively recommend to Whitehall some appropriate action that should be taken to put an end to the constant harassment of Laufaushan oyster farmers by intruders from across the frontier. The traditional practice of making only factual reports of such happenings is sterile and should be discarded unless forthwith. For, unless Government, which is closer to the scene, takes the initiative to suggest a course of action that could possibly produce the desired result, Whitehall not likely to be profoundly impressed by the dangers inherent in an uncontrolled situation. The latest incident in which eight oyster farmers were kidnapped in broad daylight by a large group of intruders from across Deep Bay is not the first of its kind. Such happenings have been recurring over the past six years and are likely to continue unless firm action is taken to convince the Chinese authorities that it is neither in their own interests nor those of Hongkong and Britain to turn a blind eye to the nefarious and anarchist behaviour of their compatriots from Po On County.

The Laufaushan oyster beds have long been the subject of heated controversy between the farmers there and their commune-controlled counterparts on the other side of Deep Bay. The dispute concerns mainly oyster bed demarcation which had been complicated by the division in loyalties following the establishment of the Peking regime, and the transfer of ownership of some beds to communes in Chinese territory. The oyster industry and the livelihood of the breeders have suffered considerably as a result of the villainous conduct of commune members who have time and again violated Hongkong's territorial waters to seize junks, sampans and parts of oyster harvests as well. There have been occasions when the intruders came in armed junks to carry out abductions and in the latest incident shots were fired presumably to discourage resistance or rescue. When 14 craft with 50 farmers on board were kidnapped two years ago, Government declared that the future "basic objective will be to prevent any abductions at all cost, including the use of firearms, as a last resort." It is not difficult to imagine what would have happened if an armed police launch was in Deep Bay on Tuesday and its intervention was resisted by the intruders. It is, therefore, imperative for the basic cause of the dispute to be resolved without further delay. And for this to be achieved, the co-operation of the Chinese authorities essential.






中共民兵越境擄人 祇為左派挾嫌報復


該消息來源指出:在昨日被擄七名蠔民中,其中曾姓一家三口,有:(一)曾牛, 四十餘歲;(二)其子曾炳南, 二十五歲;(三)其子曾祖興,十九歲,及其餘四人。









SCMP, 2 September 1970

Oyster men abducted to China

Police are investigating the reported abduction of about eight men from an oyster bed in Deep Bay. reported.

Fishermen that about 5.30 pm yesterday a fishing junk anchored near an oyster bed at Pak Nai. They said that about 20 men from the junk then boarded two sampans, sailed closer to the oyster bed and forced the eight men working there to accompany them back to the junk.

As soon as the fishermen and the men boarded the junk it sailed off towards China.

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