Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Lim Leack 林烈

Lim Leack



Lim Leack or Lim Liak was born in 1804 in China with ancestry in Jingli (鏡里). He migrated to Straits Settlements in 1825. In his early time he commenced general trading under the firm Chop Hiap Chin, in which engaged principally in tin and tapioca.

In 1824, Singapore was officially established as a British Crown Colony, eyeing on the business opportunity in the new colony, Lim Leack moved there and co-founded a well-known firm, Messrs. Leack, Chin Seng & Co. The company's early founders were Lim Leack and Tan Chin Seng (son of Tan Oh Lee). It was later joined by Chee Yam Chuan. The Messrs. Leack, Chin Seng & Co., supplied various Chinese food and stuffs to the early Chinese immigrants, and was then known in Singapore as the single largest importer of goods from China. In which, stood on par with Wee Bin & Co. and Yap Whatt & Co. The firm was located at No. 29 Market Street, Singapore. 

In 1851, in partnership with a prominent Straits Chinese merchant, Tan Chin Seng, they opened a branch of Leack, Chin Seng & Co. in Malacca engaged in  logistic and steamship. Apart from this, the firm in Malacca was also an exporter of tin and tapioca to China. However, in engaging the business in China, Leack, Chin Seng & Co., represented itself as a British trading company by raising the Union Jack in their vessels.

Lim Leack also had the interest in property investment, in 1828 he bought three land lots in Singapore. In 1855, he purchased a 9-acre land at Tiong Bahru from the British East India Company and left it for his descendants. The land was later claimed by the Singapore government for development in 1927.

Lim Leack's family was also known for their staunch support to Tengku Kudin during the civil war in Selangor (1867 - 1874). The relation between the Lim family with the local Malay elites is an exemplary of early social and political engagements of different ethnics in the then Malaya. However, this formation is mainly driven for the purpose of ensuring continuous economy monopolization. In which, the Lim family had the interest in tin mining concession in Selangor.   

When Lim Leack died on 22 August 1875 in Hong Kong, his eldest son Lim Tek Hee (also spelled as Lim Teck Ghee) took over his business interests and inherited a considerable amount of his wealth under the Estate of Lim Leack dated on 28 June 1863.

The contributions of Lim Leack towards the economy growth of early Singapore's foundation was considered invaluable. In 1941, Lim Liak Street in Tiong Bahru Estate, Singapore was named in honour of him. 

Wife:
1. Yeo Im Neo (d. 1887)

Sons:
1. Lim Teck Ghee (d. 1892) married Tan Poh Neo (1839 - 1910)
2. Lim Teck Whee (d. 1883) married Wee Watt Neo (1842-1924)
3. Lim Teck Chiang
4. Lim Tang Hun (adopted) married Wee Hoon Neo

Daughters:
1. Lim Lan Neo

Grandchildren:
1. Lim Chan Sin son of Lim Teck Whee
2. Lim Chan Siew (1877-1931) son of Lim Teck Whee

Great Grandchildren:
1. Lim Chin Chye (1896-1955) son of Lim Chan Siew
2. Lim Eng Chiang
3. Lim Eng Hock
4. Lim Eng Chye
5. Lim Ong Seng
6. Lim Teo Gek Neo

Great Great Grandchildren
1. Lim Bock Chwee


Revisions:
1st revision on 15 January 2013, with family information from Mr Lim Soon Hoe.
2nd revision on 23 January 2013 on Lim Leack's business sketch.
3rd revision on 18 August 2013 on the descendants. 

Note: This article is an ongoing research with S.H. Lim. The contents may be altered from time to time. 

2 comments:

  1. Errata:
    The great great grandson's name is Lim Bock Chwee.

    ReplyDelete