Never mind the bad English – I just needed to give this post a catchy title, by hook or by crook.
In my young days, I used to see lorries that came by to the shops that lined the two roads in my kampong. Tough, brawny men would off-load goods in wooden crates, bamboo baskets, gunny sacks, etc, using only raw muscle power, and nearly always with the help of a vicious-looking hook.
In local Hokkien dialect, we called it “Dar Gao” … it was only much later that I learned the right English description is “Stevedore’s Hook”
Elsewhere, there were variants known as Baling Hooks (I suppose for picking bales of hay, wool, etc).
Locally, I have not seen such hooks for many decades – thanks to trucks with powered cranes and hoists.