The 1867 Penang riots


In 1867 riots erupted in Penang between coalitions of secret societies. A Commission of Inquiry was established with Lieutenant-Governor A.E.H. Anson presiding over nine other Commissioners. In the process, the story of what became known as the Penang Riots slowly unfolded.

FORTY-YEAR-OLD Lieutenant-Governor A.E.H. Anson, a veteran of the Crimean War, had just arrived in Penang to take up the appointment in early June, about two months after Sir Harry Ord from the Corps of Royal Engineers became Governor of the Straits Settlements.

Both understood too little to differentiate between "benevolent" and "secret" societies and left the antagonism between conflicting secret societies unattended. This state of affairs continued to simmer until it reached a boiling point.

The Hokkien-based Kien Tek (also called "Tua Pek Kong") Society was led by Khoo Thean Teik and the Cantonese-based Ghee Hin Society was headed by Lee Kok Yeng (more commonly referred to in history books as Lee Coyn).

To read the rest of the article and to access our e-Archive, subscribe to us for RM150 a year.

Related Articles

Nov 2017

George Town Festival at a Crossroads

Now in its eighth year, Penang's festival of the arts has come a long way.

Sep 2015

Novel businesses on the block

We take a look at the new businesses in Pulau Tikus and find out how they keep up with the competition.

Mar 2017

Gen Y Homeownership 101

When it comes to the property market, the Sandwich Generation faces a dilemma.

Nov 2011

MCAT: Much room for improvement

The 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival 2011 was an opportunity to promote contemporary Malaysian art among tourists. Why did it fail?