Sham Chun [0001- ]

Submitted by Herostratus on Thu, 05/26/2016 - 10:34
Current condition
In use
Date completed

Original village of Shenzhen

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


Tensions at at Ping Shan Police Station is here

First fighting at Tai Po Police Station is here

Battle of Lam Tsuen Valley is here


Thus far, operations had been confined to the newly leased territory. Early in May, however, reports reached the Hong Kong Government of an impending attack from across the Sham Chun river. Police informers said that 140 'bare-sticks' from Tung-kuan Hsien had assembled in secrecy at Sha Tau, on Deep Bay. They were to form the nucleus of a force which was to be augmented by local recruits. The venture was rumoured to be the work of the Ming Lan Tong, a literary society of Tung-kuan city. Additional credence was given to the reports when it was learned that some officers of the Tong were members of the Hsin-an Tang clan. Police on patrol in the New Territory also noted that women were leaving their villages. By 10th May the exodus had reached major proportions.


It was evident that the Sham Chun river was not a defensible frontier and that the best way to forestall attack was to occupy the area from which it was to be launched. On 16th May two columns, numbering 1500 men in all, landed from Deep Bay and Mirs Bay and marched on Sham Chun. That evening the Union Jack was hoisted over Sham Chun market, to the accompaniment of a 21-gun salute. A proclamation was issued declaring that Sham Chun was British territory and that the Viceroy had no further jurisdiction in the district. There had been no resistance and no sign of forces massing to attack the New Territory.


The occupation of Sham Chun was confined to an area within five miles of the Sham Chun river, including Sha Tau, Sham Chun, and the road between them. Neither civil nor military jurisdiction were extended further. However, in the hinterland the occupation of Sham Chun — and the proclamation which accompanied it — were interpreted as a prelude to the occupation of the entire district. In particular, the Tangs of Pan T'in feared a punitive expedition against themselves. 


By the end of June it was clear that the British did not intend an expedition against the villages of the interior. The occupation had, however, become involved in larger diplomatic issues between Britain and China. It dragged on throughout the summer until 13th September, when the last of the British forces withdrew behind the frontiers of the Colony. In the interim much of the Sham Chun valley was left without any form of Chinese government. On the day the British forces finally quitted the valley. General Gascoigne summed up the consequences of the occupation : "the forces of law . . . had disappeared on our arrival . . ."


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.52-55