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LAU OW BEW

decided: November 16, 1891.

LAU OW BEW, PETITIONER.


Author: Fuller

[ 141 U.S. Page 583]

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER delivered the opinion of the court.

 This is an application, upon notice, for a writ of certiorari requiring the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to certify to this court for its review and determination the case of Lau Ow Bew v. The United States, in which a final judgment was rendered by that court against the applicant on the 7th of October, 1891. The application is accompanied, in accordance with subdivision 3 of Rule 37, by a certified copy of the entire record of the case.

The petition states that the applicant is a person of the Chinese race and a natural-born subject of the Emperor of China, who is now, and for the past seventeen years has been, a resident of the United States and of no other country, having his domicil in the city of Portland and State of Oregon, where during all that time, he has been a merchant engaged in the

[ 141 U.S. Page 584]

     wholesale and importing business; that on the 30th of September, 1890, he left the United States on a temporary visit to his relative in China, with the intention of returning as soon as possible; and that he did return on the steamship Oceanic, which arrived at San Francisco on the 11th of August, 1891.

That at the time of his departure he procured satisfactory evidence of his status in the United States as a merchant, under the regulations in that regard of the Treasury Department, adopted July 3, 1890, and on his return he presented his proofs to the collector of the port of San Francisco, who acknowledged their sufficiency and admitted that petitioner was entitled to the protection of the treaty between the United States and China, concluded July 28, 1868, 16 Stat. 739, and the supplemental treaty concluded November 17, 1880, 22 Stat. 826, and the act of Congress entitled "An act to execute certain treaty stipulations relating to Chinese," approved May 6, 1882, 22 Stat. 58, c. 126, as amended July 5, 1884, 23 Stat. 115, c. 220; but refused to permit petitioner to land, on the sole ground that he had failed and neglected to produce the certificate of the Chinese government mentioned in section six of the aforesaid act, as amended.

The petition further states that thereupon, on the 14th of August, 1891, petitioner filed a petition in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of California for a writ of habeas corpus to obtain his discharge from detention, alleging, among other things, that he was a merchant domiciled as aforesaid, and that it was claimed by the master of the steamship that he could not be allowed to land under the provisions of the sixth section of the act aforesaid as amended; and that the master of the steamship produced petitioner before the court on August 15, 1891, and made return to the writ that he held the petitioner in his custody "by direction of the customs authorities of the port of San Francisco, California, under the provisions of the Chinese restriction act."

An intervention was filed on behalf of the United States, alleging that petitioner was lawfully detained because he had

[ 141 U.S. Page 585]

     failed to produce to the collector of customs, or to any other authorized officer, the certificate of identification required by the act of 1882 as amended by the act of 1884. The return to the writ and the intervention were traversed by the petitioner.

The case was thereupon heard and determined upon the following agreed statement of facts:

"1st. That the said Lau Ow Bew is now on board the SS. Oceanic, which arrived in the port of San Francisco, State of California, on the 11th day of August, A.D. 1891, from Hong Kong, and is detained and confined thereon by Captain Smith, the master thereof.

"2d. That the said passenger is now and for seventeen years last past has been a resident of the United ...


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