HC Deb 15 December 1908 vol 198 cc1547-8

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can state the number of Chinese coolies convicted of crime in the Transvaal during the past two years; whether those sentenced to long terms of imprisonment are allowed to go free before the completion of their sentences at the date on which their engagement for the mines expires; and, if so, whether, in view that such acts as an encouragement to the committal of crime, he will take steps for the discontinuance of the same, and will he state the number of those so liberated.

(Answered by Colonel Seely.) I am not in possession of the figures asked for, nor am I aware that any Chinese have been liberated in the way suggested. Under the labour importation laws the Government has power to send back to China labourers convicted of any offence, and sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine, either during the period of imprisonment or on the expiration thereof, and this power has, I know, been exercised in many cases.