Japanese wartime tunnels, former Marine Police HQ [????- ]

Submitted by David on Sun, 07/06/2008 - 15:24
Current condition

These are described on the government website describing local monuments:

During the Japanese Occupation Period [when the compound was used as a base for the Japanese Navy], extensive underground tunnels were constructed beneath the lawn but after World War II, in view of public safety, these tunnels were blocked and the lawn was re-turfed.

The tunnels were destroyed during the recent development works to turn the compound into a hotel & shopping mall.

If you have any memories of those tunnels, we'd love to hear from you.


Photos that show this Place



We've been sent this photo & comments, showing how thoroughly the area has been cleared - check out the trees suspended in mid-air, waiting for the ground level to be built back up again.

Redevelopment of former Marine Police HQ

The destruction of the grand old lady of TST. No lawns or room for tunnels these days.
Surprisingly, the Welfare Handicrafts Shop building is still there. I believe this used to be a Fire Station.
[We later found that the Welfare Handicrafts Shop building had already been demolished by the time this photo was taken]
When the main building is reopened as a hotel or whatever, I hope the guests are not disturbed by the ghost that was reputed to walk the corridors. I was told recently that it is of a police officer who shot himself within the building.
There also used to be a magnificent display of old marine photo's in the officer's mess.

Here's another view of the area in the 1930s:

1930s Tsim Sha Tsui KCR station, YMCA and Peninsula Hotel

hi this document prepared to future tenders has details on the tunnels - plus a confusing map of them... there was a plan to incorporate them into possible redevelopment, and even use them to enter the site. But was probably all to complicated.


here's an excerpt about the tunnels:

The preliminary study by Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) in
1990 recommended that the extent and quality of the backfilling of the
tunnel network beneath the platform should be determined and the
conditions of any accessible lengths of tunnels examined.

2.7.4. Two portals along Canton Road were inspected (Figure 2.6). The
southern portal (Portal A) is located below the Signal Tower and the
northern portal (Portal B) is situated at about 40m north of the southern
portal. Both portals have been brick-blocked, rendering the disused
tunnels inaccessible for inspection. The portals are about 2m in
diameter and are possibly entrances to 2 disused tunnels running eastwesterly
separated at 40m apart. As the rockhead level across the Site
is, in general, below street level, the disused tunnels, with their portals at
street level, were probably excavated in decomposed rock stratum.

2.7.5. Another study by GEO in 1994 recorded some ground investigation
works, and horizontal coreholes were attempted through Portals A and
B. However, it was found that Portal A was only a single layer of brick
wall and that the coring machine could not be mounted onto it. Fill
material was noted behind Portal A through direct visual inspection.
Corehole was drilled through Portal B. It was found that the
wall/bricked-up portal was some 2.9m thick and a layer of fill existed
behind the wall. It was thus believed that the tunnel network, at least for
these two tunnel sections, had been backfilled. No records of the
disused tunnels with regard to the extent and construction details could
be traced. There is also no record of any underground chamber or
disused tunnel network underneath the Main Building in the northern
part of the Site.

2.7.6. Further study by GEO in 2000 (Report No. PGA 5/2000) has identified
the possible presence of maintenance accesses, sunken water tank and
disused tunnels beneath the Main Building. A third tunnel portal (Portal
C) was identified on the southern slope in the Site facing the former Fire
Station. These portals are rather consistent to the results of the land
gravity survey.


The Site is also underlain by a network of disused tunnels. Any new
geotechnical works should assess the effects on and created by the
presence of the tunnels. It should be noted that to restore the tunnels to a
safely useable level, substantial engineering works may be required,
which may affect the historical appearance of the tunnels.

Submitted by
80sKid (not verified)
Mon, 07/07/2008 - 17:06

In reply to by 80sKid (not verified)

interestingly - the antiquties and advisory board held a meeting on the tunnels.

Initial consultation with the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) on the
development options was conducted. The AAB was of the view that the
integrity of the monument should be preserved and additional structures on
the site platform were not preferred. As for the underground tunnels,
members generally agree in principle to their demolition though a certain
typical portion should be kept as a historical record. Notwithstanding, the
future developers must make every possible effort to conduct photographic
and cartographic recording of the tunnels and to salvage historic
construction materials of the tunnels as far as possible.

here's the link to the full report

Thanks for the extra info.

The map on page 4 of the first document you linked to clarifies one of the earlier comments. It shows the location and photos of the 'welfare handicrafts shop' and the 'former fire station and quarters'.


for anyone wishing to see the place on celluloid, Jackie Chan used it as a location for "Project A" back in 1983/4 where it was the, funnily enough, marine police/coastguard HQ.

Some more comments and photos have arrived by email:

The 1910s postcards show the slipway (now the site of the Omni Hong Kong Hotel), Water Police Station (as it was formerly called), Round House (building used by the Observatory; note the time ball on top), and the original TST Post Office.

1900s Water Police Station
1910s Water Police Station & Observatory
1900s Water Police Station
1910s Salisbury Rd, Observatory, & PO
1910s TST Post Office




The Welfare Handicrafts Shop used to be the former TST Fire Station. These 1950s photos show that it was called 'Terminus Fire Station' likely due to the fact the building was opposite the Kowloon Canton Railway Terminus (British Section). The building next to it was the original TST Post Office, but by the 1950s the Post Office had moved to a larger building across the road near to the train station.

1950s Salisbury Rd
1950s TST, KCR, & PO

In 80skid's message above, he quotes the AAB : "As for the underground tunnels, members generally agree in principle to their demolition though a certain typical portion should be kept as a historical record."

That explains the small section visible on Canton Road near Salisbury Road:

Tunnel entrance at former Marine Police HQ

Guy, please do you have any more information about the remaining tunnels? I thought that apart from the short section in the photo above (by the corner of Canton & Salisbury Road, as you describe) they were all destroyed during the excavation of the hill for the '1881 Heritage' project.

It will be good to find that some survived.

Regards, David

1920s Canton Road

Nice scene of Canton Road looking towards the former TST KCR Station with Kowloon Godowns on the right. According to the study by the Geotechnical Engineering Office, Portals A and B are/were located at street level below the ramp roads leading up to the Marine Police HQ. Note that the northern ramp road became disused after WWII.

1920s Canton Road








1945 Aerial View of Kowloon showing the existence of the ramp roads to/from Marine Police HQ.


In addition to showing the inauguration of the British Section of the KCR line in 1910, this long shot photo:


also shows the lush and tree-covered hill of the Marine Police HQ. Round House (without the timeball) can be seen above the southern slope. There is a path leading down the eastern slope towards today's Kowloon Park Drive. Note the general barrenness of the area with only the godowns belonging to the Kowloon Wharf and Godown Company visible. Middle Road is in the foreground with Nathan Rd in the centre.

A similar scene of the area can be seen here: http://gwulo.com/node/1993

The TST Post Office, near the site of the Fire Station, can also been seen in the photo and here: http://gwulo.com/node/1990