On January 15th
1888 the body of a female infant was found on the
beach at the head of Evans Bay. She was 10 or 11 days old, and enclosed in an old petticoat and a
piece of linen shirt. Marks on the child's neck resembled marks that
might have been made by a thumb and finger, indicting that she may
have been the victim of a violent death. Detectives quickly
ascertained that the girl was the baby of Hutt gang member Fong Chong
and his wife, Clara Chong, who were both arrested for her murder.
Although at first claiming that the child wasn't theirs, Clara Chong
soon changed her story, claiming that the child was born dead.
Despite testimony from neighbours who claimed to hear an infant
crying in the house, both Fong Chong and Clara Chong acquitted of
murder in a court of law. Instead each were sentenced to two
years hard labour for a lesser charge of concealing the birth. According to court news reports of the time, however, some debated whether or not there was even enough
evidence to even convict Fong Chong of this lesser charge. Nonetheless, the charge of concealment of a birth against Chong was indeed held up.
“The Evans Bay Infanticide Case. ANOTHER ARREST ON SUSPICION.” Evening Post, Vol. XXXV, Issue 21 (27 January 1888), 2. Papers Past:
http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=EP18880127.2.38&srpos=3&e=-------10--1----0fong+chong-all [30 November 2009].
“Supreme Court, Criminal Sittings: The Alleged Child-Murder Case.” Evening Post (Second Edition), Vol. XXXV, Issue 86 (13 April 1888), 3. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=EP18880413.2.31&srpos=7&e=-------10--1----0fong+chong-all
[1 December 2009].
“Court Appeal.” Hawera & Normanby Star, Vol. X, Issue 1951 (9 June 1888), 2. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=HNS18880609.2.13&srpos=5&e=-------10--1----0fong+chong-all [1 December 2009].
Chelsea Nichols, March 2010. Unless otherwise stated, all images and information found on this website are property of the New Zealand Police Museum.