The residence of Kapitan Chung Keng Quee (also spelt Chung Keng Kwee) was built in 1884, and belonged to one of the more prominent leaders and businessmen of the Chinese community at the time. It was situated very close to the Taiping Post Office, Telegraph Office, Railway Station, and Rest House at the time it was built, signifying the prominence of its owner.
It is a typical example of a colonial Straits townhouse and occupies two lots, which are currently designated as nos. 57 & 58 Jalan Berek (Barrack Road). Much of the design of the house has been preserved, most notable being the deco on the walls above the doorway, and the windows of the second floor.
About Chung Keng Quee
Chung Keng Quee was one of the pioneers in the Taiping mines and rose up to be a wealthy businessman, in time controlling the tin mines of Klian Pauh, founding the Kwantung Association in Taiping, and becoming the leader of the Hai San Secret Society, which was actually based in Penang. Chung Keng Quee was also one of the signatories of the Pangkor Engagement in 1874, alongside 26 other leaders of the Chinese associations which formed the mining community in Taiping, then still known as Klian Pauh and Klian Bahru. Chung Keng Quee was bestowed the title of “Kapitan China” by the British after the Pangkor Engagement, signifying his role as one of two chiefs of the Chinese community. The other “Kapitan China” was Chin Ah Yam, leader of the Ghee Hin Secret Society. The Hai San and Ghee Hin Secret Societies were the two principal parties at war during the Larut Wars which embroiled the whole state of Perak into chaos, leading to the brokering of the Pangkor Engagement and British intervention in Perak.
Today the residence of the Kapitan is occupied by two businesses: Bee Poh Arts Co. in lot 57, Jalan Berek, and Yinn’s Patisserie in lot 58, Jalan Berek. The owners are very friendly and do not refuse requests to look around the building and to take photographs.