Katya Knyazeva (avezink) wrote,
Katya Knyazeva

Good Russians; bad Russians

Pickpocket Is Caught With Cruise Crowd
The China Press, Apr 10, 1937

"Don't I know you?" Detective Sub-Inspector V. I. Ovsiannikoff, of Central Station, asked of a well-dressed, clean-shaven individual who was mingling among the tourists off the Franconia in the lounge of the Cathay Hotel at tiffin time yesterday.

"I don't believe I've had the pleasure, came the reply. "My name is Paul d'Arcy, of Paris. I'm on the Franconia."

"Sorry," said the detective. "I must have made a mistake."

In his mind, Ovsiannikoff knew he had not made a mistake. He knew the fellow and had him associated with some line of criminal activity. But he wasn't positive. The fellow looked like a tourist. He had a fancy looking camera case slung over his shoulder and a neat light top-coat crooked in his arm.

For several moments, the eyes of the detective followed the man as he moved around in the crowd of tourists. He chanced to walk close to the detective. As he did so, he shifted his top-coat from one arm to the other. A strip of the lining became visible, so was the tailor's mark. Ovsiannikoff observed that the label announced that the coat was made on Avenue Joffre.

The image is mine, from this post.

He grabbed the man by the shoulder. "I may not be able to place you," he told the fellow, "but you're no tourist. That coat was made in Shanghai." Then he ordered: "Let me have a look at that camera case."

The case was empty. The fellow was handed over to a uniformed officer outside the hotel. At the station, it was discovered that the man was a professional Russian-Jewish pickpocket named Solomon Zilberg.

He had scarcely finished with Zilberg when Ovsiannikoff spotted another criminally inclined person in the lounge. The second one was Jacob Yaronsowsky, another professional pickpocket. He arrested him and sent him to Central. Both will be brought before the First Special District Court this morning and charged with loitering with criminal intent.

Image from flickr Art of the Luggage Label.

H. M. S. Franconia (photo from ebay).

The brilliant detective Valeriy Ovsiannikoff served in the Shanghai Municipal Police since the mid-1920s. He lived in the Cosmopolitan Apartments.
The First Special District Court was located at 191 North Zhejiang Road, north of Suzhou Creek. The area is undergoing demolition now.

The top photo is from LIFE Magazine, 6 September 1937, p. 89.

Tags: 1930s, article, avenue joffre, cathay hotel, crime, newspaper, russians, shanghai

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