Air-raid shelters under Kowloon Park | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Air-raid shelters under Kowloon Park

Air Raid Protection (ARP) tunnels were built in many parts of Hongkong Island and Kowloon during 1940-41, in the preparations for war. I've often seen the bricked up tunnel entrances at the start of Queens Rd East in Wanchai, but I didn't know there were still any around Kowloon park. Then a couple of weeks back I took a different route from usual to get into the park, and came upon these two entrances:

Portals 10 (foreground) and 11 (background)

Here is the view through the bars of the further entrance:

Looking in to Portal 11

Sure enough, these are entrances (the reports call them 'portals') numbers 10 and 11 to the K2A Canton Road tunnel network. The tunnels extended under what was then the Whitfield Barracks, joining up with the K2 Austin Road tunnel network. Kowloon Park now occupies the area where the Barracks used to stand - you can still see a few of the old barracks buildings along the South and Western edges of the park.

To see these tunnel entrances, walk from Canton Road through the Canton Road Playground (next to the school at 178 Canton Road), and you'll see them just after you exit the playground.


Here's another bit of military history from the area. I was looking at to see if they showed the ARP tunnels at all. No sign of the tunnels, but I did notice these circles in Kowloon Park, in a familiar pattern:

If you pay a visit (once in the park, just check the park map and head to the 'Discovery Playground'), it is clear to see the circles are the gun emplacements of an old battery.

The Hong Kong Place website identifies it as 'Kowloon West II Battery', and says it was built in 1865, but fell out of use around 1916 when the construction of warehouses on the shore in front of the battery interfered with firing.


You guys are rawkin! Just when Hong kong couldn't turn up any more underground history you 'unearth' this (pardon the pun). Very interesting news to me, fellow tunnel rat. Alex de la chine.

If you take a walk with a copy of the above Google Map, there is still some clear evidence of the tunnels to be seen. I started at Austin Road, by the entrance to the park. You'll see that originally portals 5,6,7, and 8 were near here. I guess the road has been widened since the tunnels were built, so the original entrances are no longer there. However you'll see a large iron door set into the park wall. 

Portal 5

From its position slightly west of Woosung Street, I guess this fronts the tunnel that originally connected to portal 5. The air blowing out through the doorway was warm and humid, with condensation dripping off it. Here is the view through the grill.

Looking into Portal 5

I could not see any sign of portal 9, which isn't surprising. There must have been a lot of excavation here when the HK Scout centre and Victoria Towers were built, hiding any trace of the tunnel. Portals 10 and 11 are nearest to their original condition, as shown by the photos above. Portal 12 is set just back from Canton Road, behind an electrical substation. The original entrance has been replaced, now has large, padlocked double-doors.

Portal 12

Portals 13 and 14 disappeared in the 1970's, when Kowloon Park Drive was built. The excavations for that work moved the hillside back from it's original location. However, I think you can still see where one of those portals' tunnels lies. Near the Northern end of Kowloon Park Drive is a pedestrian crossing. If stand at the pedestrian crossing, but look back to the wall, you'll see a metal ventilation plate set about one meter up from the ground. The time I walked passed this there was cool air blowing out of it, so it probably connects to the tunnel that led to portal 14.

Location of tunnel behind portal 14

Walk a little further South along Kowloon Park Drive and turn left up some steps to enter the park. The two markers on the map that are inside the park show the location of the two ventilation shafts that lead down into the tunnels. The Southern shaft is still clear to see - in fact I'm surprised I'd never noticed it before. I believe that the Northern shaft was covered by the Kowloon Park Sports Hall.

To find the Southern shaft, walk to the Discovery Playground (you'll see it marked on the park maps). Stand at the gateway on the East side of the playground, with the 'castle' turret behind you. In front at your 2 o'clock you'll see the park's totem pole. Then at your 11 o'clock you'll see a small stand of bamboo plants, surrounding a low concrete wall. That is the top of the shaft.

South Ventilation Shaft - Location

It is covered by a large iron grill:

South Ventilation Shaft - Cover

But you can look down the shaft, and see the rungs forming a ladder down one side. The shaft is approximately two meters in diameter.

South Ventilation Shaft - Looking down

South Ventilation Shaft - Bottom

Phwoooaaaarrrrr!!! Those pics rock MrB, great to have an expat posting stuff like this.... Wonder if any access is possible legally, I would really like to have a look down this, do email me. Cheers, Alex////

Glad you liked the photos. Sorry, I haven't looked at getting into these tunnels, so I'm not sure who you'd need to ask. MrB

Interesting. I have never seen this before even I have spent my childhood in HK. You two must be person which are sensitive and pay good attention in details. Glad to visit your site!

Dear MrB, I just wonder how you can know the locations of those portals at the very beginning. You have some other sources such as maps etc. showing the number and location of the portals? Without those information, I think you cannot know how much and where the portals are. Am I right? Regards, Kevin.

Hello Kevin, A bit of each approach. The first tunnels I looked at (eg these at Kowloon Park, and the tunnels under Mount Parish), I saw the portals first, then went looking for more information about them. Then in the case of the tunnels in Central, I read that they had existed, and then went for a look to see what could still be seen. Regards, MrB

Now that the vegetation has been cleared from the end of Scout Path, I think this is the 

Kowloon Park Air Raid Portal No 9
opening of Portal No 9 burrowed into the hillside of Kowloon Park.

 From the angle that was viewed,  it does not appear to be closed. The more intrepid adventurer will have to jump the railings leading down from the park towards Canton Rd in order to obtain a better view.

Moddsey, well spotted - it does look like a section of the tunnel. This time of year when the vegetation has been cut / died / burned off is a good time to see new things.

Thanks for all the photos you've been posting too.


I walked up Scout path today, and the gate in the fence was open for some construction workers who were putting up signs. I walked in and over to the possible portal, and managed to take these photos before being asked to leave.

It's not a portal, but it's a strange little structure. The top is domed concrete, and if you look inside you can see the bricks were laid in a kind of dome too. There are a few porcelain gods on the floor, so I don't know if it was always a shrine, or if they are just recent.

I'd assumed this slope is relatively new, as part of the development of the Victoria Towers or the HK Scout Centre. This structure looks old though, so maybe the slope is too.

Not portal #9

Not portal #9
Not portal #9

Thank you for the follow-up.

Has anyone found any access to explore here? Or does anyone know if there is a way to get permission to explore here, or to join a group who is permitted to go in?

I haven't heard of any access. Pity, as it would be an interesting one to see inside.

The Government is proposing to create an underground shiopping mall in this location