A spy drama with a deadly sequel erupted at the British Columbia Provincial Courthouse in Vancouver at 10 a.m. on October 21st, 1914.

Suddenly a Sikh, Mewa Singh, stepped forward, produced a revolver, and shot William Hopkinson, a Canadian immigration inspector, at point-blank range.

Hopkinson sank to his knees, grabbing his assailant around the thigh, only to receive another bullet in the region of his heart. Then Mewa clubbed the officer over the head with his revolver, dropped it accidentally, picked it up again, and continued clubbing his victim.

Still firing, he jumped in the air and with each shot threw his arms up in a whoop of triumph. Court officials lunged at him and held him down, even though he continued to try to shoot another official.

By the time a doctor arrived, William Hopkinson was dead. Mewa Singh merely said, “I shoot, I go to police station.”

The motive, detectives learned, was that Hopkinson, an Englishman, was in the pay of the British Government as a secret agent controlling a number of “loyal” Sikh agents in Vancouver. Hopkinson wanted these Sikh agents to infiltrate and destabilise the rebellious Sikh community that was seeking independence for India. The Sikh rebels had discovered his plan and regarded him as a spy.

Mewa Singh had no reason to complain about slow justice. He was tried on October 29th, only eight days after the murder; the trial lasted only two hours and the jury convicted him in a mere five minutes. He was hanged on Monday, January 11th, 1915.

After his execution the Sikh community carried his body in procession through Vancouver and at the cremation service he was lauded as a hero.