|Press Cutting from Vancouver Daily Province Dec 1943 (IWM)|
A highly intelligent observer, able by reason of her Russian extraction to claim exemption from internment, Mrs Zaitzeff was by far the best informed of the Hongkong party. From the day of the surrender to her repatriation, she was lodged in a block of flats in May Road (Abemore Court), reserved by the Japanese for foreigners. Such consular officers as remain in the Colony were housed in the same building. Mrs Zaitzeff was permitted to walk freely about Hong Kong and in spite of the unpleasantness, took every opportunity to do so.
Acute shortages are everywhere apparent. Flour and rice are scarce, and long queues are the order of the day. Necessities are obtainable only by ration tickets which are in turn obtainable only on proof that the individual is employed on work contributing to the establishment of the New Order and approved by the Japanese. The whole population is thus caught in the dilemma – they must either work for the Japanese or starve.
It is no longer safe to walk about with a handbag or parcel, even in the centre of the city. The handbag is snatched, and the parcel is stolen, and its contents are eaten before the eyes of the owner.
Kotewall and Shou Son Chow, who seem to vie with each other in pro-Japanese fervour and anti-British advocacy are two rare exceptions (to the no one runs a car rule). These two gentlemen are very much in the public eye. The Kotewall girls are among the few women who seem able to shop for anything save the bare necessities of life.
The police have been reinforced by fresh Chinese contingents drawn apparently from the North. Since the first American bombings, the Indian Police have grown markedly more polite to foreigners. At first, they were hostile. Cinemas are open in town and show either Japanese films or pictures of the triumphs of Wang Ching-Wei. When the show is frankly propagandist, admittance is free to all.Many posters have been affixed to buildings in busy parts of the town; these depict a Chinese mother standing in an attitude of protection over her children while glancing fearfully at the sky. The caption reads -Remember that it is American planes which are killing innocent women and children – the bombings are in fact welcomed even when a near–miss at the Central Police Station killed upwards of 150 Chinese including children. The successful bombing of the oil tanks at Lai Chi Kok was a seven-day wonder in the town.