Former Ping Shan Police Station [1899- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Former Ping Shan Police Station [1899- ]

Current condition: 
In use
Date Place completed: 

Photos that show this place


A very little known part of Hong Kong's history was the violent resistance to the British occupation of the New Territories in 1899. Dismissed by the British as a couple of scuffles the quoted article shows that it was much more than that. I have placed the account under the Ping Shan & Tai Po Police Stations, the Lam Tsuen valley & Sham Chun as these were the key locations during during the conflict


In August of 1898 Stewart Lockhart toured the territory and made enquiries about many aspects of social life. At about the same time agents of a Hong Kong land syndicate began to operate in the area. Their object was to acquire land which might appreciate in value as a result of either government purchase, or, the expansion of commercial activities. Unscrupulous methods were used to persuade reluctant owners to sell their land. For example, the syndicate's agents were the authors of a rumour that the Hong Kong government intended to expropriate all privately owned land. It was believed that the syndicate had informal connections with Hong Kong's officialdom and that its activities were a foretaste of the future.


By March of 1899, British officials began to appear in the territory. A party was busy near the Sham Chun river, marking out the frontier with China. Meanwhile, the officer in charge of the Hong Kong police was touring the territory, considering alternative locations for police stations. This official — Captain Superintendent F. H. May — arrived at Ping Shan on 27th March. His first action was to post a proclamation saying that the Hong Kong government would not interfere with the land, buildings, or customs of the people. He then designated a hill behind Ping Shan as the site for a police station. A crowd gathered and the argument began. "It says that land, buildings, and customs will not be interfered with but will remain the same as before. Why should they therefore, when they first come into the leased area, wish to erect a police station on the hill behind our village? When has China ever erected a police station just where people live? The proclamation says that things will be as before. Are not these words untrue? 


A brief discussion of the activities of the land syndicate mentioned in a preceding paragraph is to be found in Endacott, G.B., A History of Hong Kong, Oxford University Press, London and Hong Kong, and Paperback Edition, 1964, p. 265, who says: "The main problem of the take-over was not military but administrative. A land syndicate of Chinese among whom it was suspected Ho Kai [Dr. Ho Kai, a Chinese unofficial member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong] was one, had bought land at a fraction of its value by spreading the rumour that the British would seize all land. Blake threatened to restore this property, but the land problem proved too baffling for him to carry out his threat


Source: Militia, Market and Lineage: Chinese Resistance to the occupation of Hong Kong's New Territories in 1899. R. G. Groves.  RASHK Vol 9 (1969) p.31 


For the subsequent fighting see here & here

Occupation of Sham Chun here

Today the former station houses the "Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre" which opened in 2007. (see here)

Home of the police dog unit in the 1960s

The reference to hostilities when Britain (or Hong Kong, really) took over that part of China which went under the name "New Territories" is somewhat out of date. Patrick Hase has written a book about it. I have it but can't find it (someone rearranged my books according to the colour of their spines and I don't recall the colour of Hase's book's spine). Hase is a meticulous scholar and his account, which differs from the one by Graves, ought to take preference.