Foreigners in the Hong Kong Police

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Hama
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Foreigners in the Hong Kong Police

Post by Hama » 02 May 2018 15:41

I was reading through the article The Russian Officer Corps of the Manchukuo Army by Sergei Smirnov, and he mentions one Russian named Vasily Tyrsin who, prior to moving to Manchukuo and joining their military, had served as an officer in the British Maritime Police at Hong Kong during the interwar period. I didn't realise the UK allowed non-British subjects to join their colonial police forces, was this a fairly common thing or were there only special circumstances where it would have happened?

I know in Tyrsin's case he had prior experience in the Chinese military, the Shanghai Volunteer Corps, and the Canton River Police before he came to Hong Kong, so it seems he would have been a decent candidate for the Hong Kong police if nationality wasn't an issue for them.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Foreigners in the Hong Kong Police

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 May 2018 13:50

I would guess that he was technically stateless before reaching Hong Kong and I would also guess that he was given some form of naturalization when he joined up there. He would certainly have had to take some form of oath to enlist. There were quite a few White Russians in the Far East at this time and he may not have been alone.

Sid.

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Hama
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Re: Foreigners in the Hong Kong Police

Post by Hama » 03 May 2018 16:14

Sid Guttridge wrote:I would guess that he was technically stateless before reaching Hong Kong and I would also guess that he was given some form of naturalization when he joined up there.
The source I read made no mention of him becoming a naturalised British subject. If he had, I would suspect that could have caused trouble for him when he was serving in the Manchukuo armed forces during the Pacific War. But, as near as I can tell, he was never interned by the Japanese as an Allied national, which makes me suspect he either remained stateless or had some other nationality later on (like Manchukuo).

Here is his full story (before he became an officer cadet in the Manchukuo army) quoted in Smirnov's article:
Tyrsin descended from a family of a Major General of the Orenburg Cossack Army. By the beginning of the Russian Civil War, he studied in the Orenburg cadet corps. In 1919, the Orenburg cadet corps was evacuated to Irkutsk. After the capture of the city by the Red Army, Tyrsin stayed in Irkutsk. He graduated from the Soviet school here. Suddenly, in November 1923, leaving his mother in the USSR, he fled over the border into Manchuria. In Shanghai, Tyrsin graduated from the last class of the Khabarovsk cadet corps and then went to Canton, where he enlisted in the river police. Soon Tyrsin illegally went to Marseille. In the summer of 1926, not having a permanent job and feeling homesick, he filed a petition in the Soviet Consulate to return home. His petition was granted, and he returned to his mother in Orenburg in the autumn of the same year. Just a year later, not wanting to cooperate with the NKVD, Tyrsin fled to China for the second time. Once again, in China he served briefly in the Russian units of the Shandong Army and later in the Russian detachment of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps. Leaving the Shanghai Volunteer Corps, he was an officer of the British Maritime Police in Hong Kong. Here he was arrested for smuggling and spent 10 months in prison. Finally, Tyrsin arrived in Manchukuo in August 1933. He was a police officer in the township’s police, a frontier guard, a Japanese translator for the gendarmerie, and the agent of Tokumu Kikan in the Cossack Trehrechie.
-Sergei Smirnov (2015) The Russian Officer Corps of the Manchukuo Army, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 28:3, 556-566

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Re: Foreigners in the Hong Kong Police

Post by Eugen Pinak » 03 May 2018 20:06

Hama wrote:... it seems he would have been a decent candidate for the Hong Kong police if nationality wasn't an issue for them.
Nationality wasn't an issue for former White Russian exilees. Hong Kong police accepted so many of them so they had special series of service numbers just for them.

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Re: Foreigners in the Hong Kong Police

Post by Hama » 03 May 2018 20:29

Eugen Pinak wrote: Nationality wasn't an issue for former White Russian exilees. Hong Kong police accepted so many of them so they had special series of service numbers just for them.
Very interesting, I knew hundreds moved around to places like Hong Kong but I had no idea they were joining the British police in such big numbers. Can I ask where you got your information on this subject?

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Re: Foreigners in the Hong Kong Police

Post by Eugen Pinak » 04 May 2018 09:50

Hama wrote:Can I ask where you got your information on this subject?
It was a book - history of Hong Kong Police (in English). But I've just browsed it, co can't tell its exact name.

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