100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Hong Kong Governor Tries To Abolish Foreign Coins

Francis Henry May was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1860, the son of the Lord Chief-Justice of Ireland. In 1881 May entered the diplomatic service in Hong Kong. He was made Assistant Colonial Secretary in 1891 and Acting Colonial Treasurer in 1892. From 1893 to 1902 May was the Captain Superintendent of the Hong Kong Police Force and Superintendent Victoria Gaol and Fire Brigade. He held the position of Colonial Secretary for Hong Kong in 1902–1910 and was appointed Governor of Fiji and High Commissioner Western Pacific in 1910. In 1912 May was appointed Governor of Hong Kong. In July 1912 while at a ceremony near the Post Office Governor May was shot at be a would-be Chinese assassin. The bullet missed May and hit the chair he was sitting in. Soldiers immediately surrounded the governor and the shooter was seized. Since then he has traveled by car.

On November 18, 1912 Governor May directed the British colony’s two streetcar companies and the Star Ferry company to stop accepting Chinese coins for payment of its fares and to accept only Hong Kong coins in a effort to rid the colony of foreign coinage and currency. Since there are relatively few Hong Kong coins in circulation many passengers are unable to pay their fares. A public boycott of mass transportation is being organized in protest.

Hong Kong governor Francis Henry May

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