Site Meter Streets of Shanghai / Huang Jinrong
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Huang Jinrong

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 1 month ago



Huang Jinrong





A bald-headed man with piercing, wide-spaced eyes over a square nose, Huang Jinrong exhibits a sinister demeanour. He is a man not averse to the vicious use of power, yet he would like to be thought of as like a hero from a medieval romance. Born in 1868 in Suzhou, his father was a constable in Suzhou before the family migrated to Shanghai to open a teahouse. During his childhood, Huang contracted a bad case of smallpox. While his subordinates now call him “Grand Master Huang”, behind his back everyone calls him “Pockmarked Jinrong”.


Eventually, Jinrong went to work at his father’s teahouse, which was not very far from the Zhengjia Bridge near the French Concession. The bridge in those days sheltered a large population of hustlers and crooks. Huang Jinrong fitted right in, and organised many of them into a gang who later became his sworn followers. Aged 24, Huang passed the entrance exams and entered the French Concession police force, the Garde Municipale in 1892. Being strong, brash and capable, he did very well and became a detective in the Criminal Justice Section (Police Judiciaire) – badge number 13. With the exception of a brief sojourn to Suzhou, Huang served continuously in the Police Judiciaire for twenty years until his retirement in 1925 after several major scandals rocked the department. Although always associated with gangs such as the Big Eight Mob, his public profile has always been aligned with the police.



Huang spends every morning, after ten o’clock, in the Cornucopia Teahouse (which he owns) on Rue du Consulat, holding court. A disciple stays at his side to receive the payment for favours and gifts from well-wishers and petitioners, while Huang decides whether or not a given felon should be turned over to the police or not. Criminals can request special favours from Huang relating to the police, such as getting charges dropped or arranging for patrols to not be in a certain place for a while.



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