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Forces, Hong Kong

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 24 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will take steps to avoid sending commissioned officers and men again to Hong Kong who suffered at the hands of the Japanese in prison camps following capture in Hong Kong by the Japanese during the recent war, since some of these men are still suffering from the effects of their long internment; and if he will have any such cases already brought to his notice looked into.

From the end of the war until August, 1947, no officers or men who had been prisoners of war in Japanese hands were sent to the Far East. Since that date there has been no such general restriction, nor do I think it is necessary to impose such a restriction as soldiers put under orders for the Far East are, of course, medically examined to ensure that they are fit for service there.

Does my right hon. Friend realise that long exposure to the brutalities of the Japanese during the war has well nigh permanently affected some of these men by the terms they served in prison camps and under forced labour schemes? Does he not think it inadvisable to add to their sufferings by sending them out again to renew their acquaintance with the scenes of their previous tortures?

If they have been adversely affected by their experience, I think that would be ascertained in their medical examinations.