Pillboxes in Hong Kong | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Pillboxes in Hong Kong

As the map below shows, pillboxes were built in many places around Hong Kong Island and in the New Territories. For more information about a pillbox, either click its name in the list, or click its red marker on the map. Your are welcome to add another place - just remember to give it the tag pillbox so that it shows up on the list and map below.

The map below is 'live': you can drag it around with your mouse, click the +/- buttons to zoom in and out, and click the Map/ Satellite/ Hybrid buttons to change the appearance of the map.


The captioned article can be viewed online from the Public Library. It tells of the failure of the German pillbox system on the battlefields in WWI from a British perspective.

On the subject of pillboxes. I have lost the reference but I did read from the newpapers from the 1920s  that the earliest pillboxes in Hong Kong were built in the NT, one on the Lo Wu side of the border, another on the Fanling to Sha Tau Kok Rd and last one in Sha Tau Kok Village.

1928 PWD Report confirms the newspaper article

At the request of the Military Authorities, the following pillboxes were erected:

a) a large pillbox near the Shum Chun River at Lo Wu halt;

b) two small pillboxes at Sha Tau Kok Police Station and

c) a large pillbox at the terminus of the road at Sha Tau Kok

The structures were completed in August 1928 and handed over to the Military Authorities.

As spoken. The original NT pillboxes.

Thanks Moddsey. I wonder if there are any photos of them remaining? I guess even if there are, there's a good chance whoever owns them won't realise what they are!

Regards, David

Several Hong Kong pillboxes are described in this publication from the HK Institute of Surveyors: http://www.hkis.org.hk/hkis/general/journal/SBEvol21b.pdf.

Thanks to Moddsey for the link.

Regards, David

Unknown BDU, showing effectiveness of camouflage..jpg
Unknown BDU, showing effectiveness of camouflage..jpg, by The National Archives UK

Unknown Beach PB..jpg
Unknown Beach PB..jpg, by The National Archives UK


Unknown Beach PB under construction..jpg
Unknown Beach PB under construction..jpg, by The National Archives UK

HK Island Pillbox Map
HK Island Pillbox Map , by Herostratus

HK Sunday Herald 23 February 1947

Another reminder of the war years will shortly disappear, the many pill-boxes which stand in various parts of the town. Yesterday's Government Gazette contained a notice for tenders for the demolition of 28 pill-boxes and similar structures at various sites on the island.

Thanks Moddsey, you nearly gave me a heart attack. Only when I re-read the date did the palpitations cease

Much of the information on the map of pillboxes shown above comes from Rob Weir.

Rob has an article in the latest issue of The HKIS journal: Surveying & Built Environment, Volume 30, describing how he learned about Hong Kong's pillboxes. He takes us back to his first discoveries, when he knew little to nothing about Hong Kong's military defences, and how he pieced together his discoveries over time. A lot of the research was done on the ground, sometimes literally!

On one occasion the ground slipped away underneath me, and I started an uncontrolled slide into a valley. Fortunately, I ended up entangled in a bush which stopped my progress. It gave me a fright, and I was yelling at myself for being so careless when I noticed Tito, the Labrador, sitting watching me. I am certain to this day that he was slowly shaking his head.

You can download a copy of the journal from www.hkis.org.hk/archive/materials/category/HKIS_SBE_Vol30_website.pdf, and you'll find Rob's article from page 107 onwards.