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China (Attack On British Ship)

Volume 237: debated on Monday 24 March 1930

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the attack on 15th January last on the British vessel "Tuckwo" by an armed boarding party of Chinese under the guise of their being under orders from the Kiangsu Government to intercept the ship and remove well-known bad characters and a quantity of ammunition; that, in the first place, this boarding party opened fire on the vessel with rifles, killing a Chinese passenger and seriously wounding a quartermaster; that, when on board the vessel, having searched for opium, of the existence of which apparently they were aware, they left the ship taking with them large packages of opium weighing about 50 pounds a-piece, also small packages of opium from the third-class Chinese passenger quarters; that the vessel was subjected to frequent volleys of rifle fire on the ship by Chinese on the river bank; that at the time a member of His Majesty's Legation was on passage in the vessel from Nanking to Shanghai; whether any official Report of the circumstances has been received from him or from the Legation; and whether any official steps have been taken to prevent occurrences of this kind in the future?

I have received from His Majesty's Minister at Peking a memorandum prepared by the member of His Majesty's Legation who was on board the steamship "Tuckwo' on the 15th January when the vessel was fired on and boarded by a party of Chinese who professed to be in search of arms, opium, and a bank robber, and removed from the ship a considerable quantity of opium. One Chinese passenger was apparently shot dead, and the Chinese quartermaster of the ship was shot and subsequently died. No attempt was made to interfere with the foreign passengers or their cabins. His Majesty's Minister subsequently made a vigorous protest to the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs. Sir Miles Lampson 'said that, while he had instructed His Majesty's Consuls to arrange, in proper cases, for search in regular form by duly accredited Chinese anti-opium officials of British ships at the ports, there must be no more of these unwarranted attacks on British shipping.

In view of the very un-settled state of affairs which is developing in China, will the right hon. Gentleman consider giving more adequate protection to officers and seamen navigating British ships in Chinese waters?

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any reply has been received from the Foreign Minister to the protest which has been made?