The serious problems involved in the plantation labor situation continued to occupy the center of attention of those interested in the welfare of the sugar industry in Hawaiʻi. An opportunity soon presented itself in the person of a Russian national, AV Perelestrous, who came to Honolulu for medical treatment and rest on Waikiki and saw a good opening for business. “(I)t was decided to introduce approximately 50-families as a trial lot, and Mr ALC (‘Jack’) Atkinson (US District Attorney) was chosen to proceed to Harbin, accompanied by Mr AW Perelestrous, who some time previous had represented himself”.
The recruiting took place in Harbin, Manchuria, on the Siberian border, the center of the Chinese Eastern Railroad. They returned to the Islands on October 22, 1909 “with 108 men, 67 women, and 79 children, a total of 255.” “After landing at Honolulu every Russian tore up his passport and threw the scraps into the Pacific ocean.” “At the request of some of the passengers, one of the ship’s officers requested the Russians to sing the Russian national hymn. The quartermaster who carried the message returned shaking his head. … (They effectively told him) ‘To hell with Russia; we are learning the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’”