NTHQ | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

NTHQ

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NTHQ
Authors: 
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Wednesday, January 1, 1964

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This is a still from a 1964 French film Le Monocle Rit Jaune. I believe it may have been filmed inside a real police operations room and in the sequence there are lots of chairs with "NTHQ" written on them in white paint. Are any of the former police in the Gwulo community that are able to hazard a guess as to where this might possibly have been filmed?

Thanks in advance
Phil

NTHQ must surely stand for New Territories Headquarters. I don't know where this was located in 1964, but I  remember that in 1984 and for some years thereafter, it was situated on the hillside on the west side of the Shatin valley. I visited it at that time but can't remember much about it except that it was small, old and had a pleasant lawn. I can't find it on google maps. 

The wiki page of old police buildings ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historic_police_buildings_in_Hong_Kong ) says Shatin Old Station was on Tung Lo Wan Hill Road, which is in roughly the same area as the building I visited, but says it was built in 1950 and demolished in 2004. My memory tells me the building I visited was older than that, and I thought it was now being used for a non-policing purpose, so I'm not sure if it's the one I vaguely remember.

Hi GW,

If it was the Christian camp that you mentinoed, I vaguely remember Phil had blogged about it, with photos.  He had actually ventured inside and was greeted by the Administrator there, according to his blog piece.  I have forgotten whether he posted it here, or in his own blog elsewhere.

T

Thanks GW. Yes, T is correct, a while ago I had posted about the development that sits on the site you mention but it wasn't the post about the Christian Centre (High Rock), it was another post about a new development called the "Great Hill" and there is a commemorative plaque on the side of the building dedicated to the police station. I also remember once that Dr Pat Hase told me the Shatin District office was also based there as well at some point (when he was the Shatin D.O).

The old post has long gone, but I may have the photos somewhere to repost here. I'll have a look.

Edit: Good news, I have a backup copy of all my snaps here in the UK.

Shatin Police Station memorial plaque
Shatin Police Station memorial plaque, by Philk

I should add that Shatin/Tai Wai is a strong contender because the movie includes a shoot out in nearby Chik Chuen Wai.

Confirmed with an ex-colleague. Yes, the building which was NTHQ in the 1980's was the one on Tung Lo Wan Hill Road. Still don't know if it had been NTHQ back in the '60's.

thanks for confirming, gw. are there any other contenders?

Hi Phil,

Just found the following in "Asia's Finest; An Illustrated Account of the Royal Hong Kong Police" by Kevin Sinclair (ISBN 962-232-002-3) published in 1983;

"Headquarters of the New Territories region was for many years located at Tsun Wan, but with the growing complexity of policing the New Territories and the subsequent growing of headquarters staff, more room was needed than could be provided in the old premises. In 1980, after the new Shatin district headquarters was opened in the centre of the new town, the regional headquarters moved into the old station."

Still doesn't confirm where NTHQ was located when your movie was made, but Tsun Wan, or Tsuen Wan as I think it's more often known these days, seems a good possibility. Tsuen Wan Police Station in the 1960's was the building at https://gwulo.com/node/45869 , but don't know if NTHQ was housed there or a different building.

Maps and blackboards with stencilled formats for displaying things such as manpower deployment and crime statistics were commonly used in police stations in those days, as seen in your photo. Is it possible to enlarge the wording on the blackboard in your photo as that may give us a clue to where it was taken?  

There's not much info other than columns for divisions in "Fanling", "Tsun Wan" and then "Reserve". I'll try and get a better screen shot and post it up.

In 1959/60 NTHQ was based in Tsuen Wan, not in the police station,but further down Castle Peak Road.  Opposite was the Tsuen Wan branch of the HSBC

Traffic NT and CID NT werw also based in this old building.

I remember it well having visited it many times in that period.

Having dredged my memory banks, I can now remember that the HQ building was  a one storey buidling housing the HQ and CID whilst Traffic NT was in a wooden building slightly off to the main buidling. At rthe time theAssistant Commissioner was resposible for not only the NT but also Marine

thanks for the comment. I can see that it was still there on the 1970 map (on Tymon's map viewer website) but just listed as "Police Station", whereas earlier maps do identify it as "Police Headquarters NT and Marine District" as well as "Traffic Office NT". I've created a place for it (here) but I won't add these images below until it's possible to confirm it's the same place.

Here's a few additional images of the same room. I'm not sure if they will help jog peoples' memories as there isn't much to be seen other than the general layout.
 

NTHQ
NTHQ, by Philk
NTHQ
NTHQ, by Philk
NTHQ
NTHQ, by Philk 
NTHQ
NTHQ, by Philk

Hi Phil,

Thanks for posting the extra stills. Under full zoom they contain lots of relevant details.

The top pic (man with cigar) shows a blackboard with a table divided into columns for various NT police units and stations. Furthest from the camera is a column with vertical writing of which I think I can make out "Tsun Wan", "Yuen Long", "HQ NT" and "Frontier", admitedly a bit of imagination is required to read "Tsun Wan" and "Frontier". Lower down, the part entitled "Patrols and Road Blocks" seems to contain the initials of NT Police Stations, of which I can see the following;

C.P. - not sure about this one. Castle Peak?

P.S. - don't know.

L.F.S. - Lau Fau Shan.

P.H. - Pat Heung.

T.P. - Tai Po.

S.T. - Sha Tin.

S.S. - Sheung Shui.

S.T.K. - Sha Tau Kok.

T.K.L. - Ta Ku Ling.

The second photo (female smoking) has a different blackboard headed "Incident Board" with one of its columns entitled "Loc" for location and containing the following initials, again of NT police stations.

Y.L. - Yuen Long.

illegible - ?

L.W. - Lo Wu.

G.I. - ?

S.S. - Sheung Shui.

C.U. - ?

L.M.C. - Lok Ma Chau.

The third pic shows a giant wall map on which most of the New Territories and Lantau have been divided up and labelled as follows;

Lau Fau Shan, Yuen Long, Pat Heung, Sheung Shui, Lok Ma Chau, Sha (Sha Tin), T (Tai Po), Mui Wo, Tai O.

I presume these were the policing areas under the command of NTHQ.

I can't see anything relevant in the bottom pic, except those NTHQ chairs you have already mentioned.

Considering the blackboards, wall map, chairs and other furniture together, I'd say they are entirely consistant with this room being a command room in NT HQ. You know more about the movies than me, but I'd be very surprised and impressed if a movie production company took the time to include this much accurate detail in a set they constructed. It looks like the genuine article to me. 

thanks for the feedback gw, yes, I definitely agree that this attention to detail would have been pointless for this film (or any film for that matter) so I think the room is authentic. 

Hi There,

PS would most likely be Ping Shan.  The building is still there.

The others are likely corresponding to old Police Statioin building back then.

T

Missing stations on the board.

TKL  Ta kwu Ling

MKT Man Kam To

 

On the map, it marks with "Current" where is Tai Po

Besides, NTHQ should also be Tai Po

(I don't know how to upload pic, tried but failed)

Thanks terewong, I hadn't noticed that before, but you're right. However, I'm not sure if the "Current" refers to Tai Po. It looks more likely to refer to the list that appears underneath it. I would have expected it to be closer to, or part of, the "Tai Po" title otherwise. For reference the image is below.

 

NTHQ
NTHQ, by Philk

I think the list on the right is resources available and has nothing to do with the sub divisional boundaries

 

 

I expect you are right. Any idea what sort of things would be on the list? Would it be similar to that listed on the chalkboards?