People’s Liberation Army enter Hong Kong

I was still in primary school when the British handed back Hong Kong to China in 1997, but there was one thing that stood out to me – the People’s Liberation Army streaming across the border into Hong Kong.

People’s Liberation Army arrive into Hong Kong in 1997 (via big5.locpg.hk)

An advance party of 200 unarmed People’s Liberation Army troops were permitted into Hong Kong before the handover, with 509 armed troops and 39 vehicles crossing the border at 21:00 on June 30, 1997 – three hours before the official handover.

This contemporary Hong Kong TV news report shows their arrival into the city.

The procession was made up of open trucks loaded with troops.

People’s Liberation Army arrive into Hong Kong in 1997 (via fn01.blog.sohu.com)

People’s Liberation Army arrive into Hong Kong in 1997 (via english.cntv.cn)

There are a number of border crossings between Hong Kong and China, with the People’s Liberation Army using more than one – both the Wenjindu Port / Man Kam To Control Point complex to the east of Lo Wu, and the Huanggang Port / Lok Ma Chau Control Point complex at Lok Ma Chau.

Today around 6,000 People’s Liberation Army personnel are garrisoned in Hong Kong, where they drive right-hand drive vehicles the carry number plates that start with ZG, standing for zhugang (駐港) – Chinese for “stationed in Hong Kong”.

Further reading

Wikipedia has more on the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison.

The leadup to the June 30th 1997 handover can be seen in this Sky News piece.

With the actual handover ceremony found in this video.

Photo gallery

Finding photos of the People’s Liberation Army entering Hong Kong was surprisingly difficult – here are some I found online:

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1983 timelapse tour of Hong Kong

Here is another YouTube find – this time a timelapse tour of Hong Kong dated 1983.

Along the way:

  • 0:16 – Star Ferry bus terminal
  • 0:20 – driving up Nathan Road on a route 1A bus
  • 1:12 – passing under the KCR bridge at Mongkok
  • 1:15 – vehicular ferry from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon, and return
  • 1:40 – boats at an unknown typhoon shelter
  • 1:58 – traffic on an unknown road
  • 2:05 – highways near Hung Hom railway station
  • 2:20 – trains depart Hung Hom
  • 2:30 – cars head for the Cross Harbour Tunnel
  • 2:45 – ships on Victoria Harbour
  • 2:47 – roads outside Kai Tak Airport
  • 2:50 – sunset over Victoria Harbour
  • 2:53 – sunset from The Peak
  • 2:56 – unknown night scenes
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A fresh looking Tai Koo Station

Finding photos of the early years of the Hong Kong MTR is a little tricky, but here is a photo of Tai Koo Station soon after opening in 1985.

Dragages Hong Kong - Tai Koo MTR Station
Dragages Hong Kong

Built by Dragages Hong Kong, they have more to say on their involvement with the project:

The expansion of the MTR system through the Island line was necessary to accommodate the increased demand for housing and commercial space on the Island as economic development hit high speed in the 1980s. The Tai Koo twin tunnels and station were located at the eastern end of the line to serve the increase in demand from the nearby developments. The works comprised twin tunnels and a station built in a 24-metre span rock cavern.

In the years since the turnstiles and overhead signage has changed, but not much else.

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Beer of Hong Kong

There is a saying that goes “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline”. While Hong Kong might not be a real country, as the home of Cathay Pacific it does have it’s own airline. But what about a local beer?

Cathay Pacific A330-300 B-HLQ

Local supermarkets stock plenty of different imported beers.

Beer selection at a Hong Kong supermarket

Even the outlying islands still get deliveries of the precious amber nectar.

The most important delivery - BEER!

But Hong Kong doesn’t have a ‘local’ beer as such.

San Miguel (生力啤酒) is the closest thing to a “cheap domestic beer” – the Philippines-based brand has an local subsidiary in San Miguel Brewery Hong Kong that runs a brewery at Yuen Long in the New Territories.

Beer tents down in the public area, mainly catering to tourists and expats

Their competition is Blue Girl Beer (藍妹啤酒). Based in the Chinese city of Qingdao in eastern Shandong Province, their product is described as a ‘German style’ beer.

Seafood restaurants lining the waterfront in Cheung Chau

Slim pickings – then again Hong Kong is just a “Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China”.

Footnote

The “beer and and airline” quote is usually attributed to Frank Zappa – the Quote Investigator has the full story.

Wikipedia also has more on the subject of Beer in Hong Kong.

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Octopus card fare anomalies

Traveling on public transport in Hong Kong with an Octopus card is simple – load up your card with credit, tap on when you start every journey, and the lowest fare will be deducted each time – no more fumbling with coins! However it isn’t always that simple, as these are some anomalies in the Octopus card fare structure.

Ticket machines at Hung Hom station on the MTR

Ticket machines and cash boxes need constant attention, so to push passengers towards the much simpler Octopus system, cash fares on buses and single journey tickets on the MTR are sold at premium. However a change to MTR fares in June 2010 resulted in the opposite occurring – as this article from the South China Morning Post describes:

Octopus users out of pocket on MTR rides
Thursday, 20 May, 2010
Anita Lam

Millions of Octopus card users will be left wondering if they are paying more than single journey ticket holders when new MTR fares take effect on June 13.

Train passengers with Octopus cards normally enjoy a lower fare than people buying tickets from vending machines, but the MTR says a fraction of Octopus card users will pay 10 cents to 20 cents more than single journey ticket users on some trips.

With single journey fares being rounded off to the next 50 cents, the MTR believes this might mean an excessive amount for some of its shorter, cheaper journeys, so it waived the rise for such trips. However, these trips then become more expensive if one uses an Octopus card.

Examples include a ride between Tsuen Wan West and Jordan, which will cost HK$7.50 with a single journey ticket but 20 cents more with an Octopus card.

The MTR said only 100 of its 40,000 fare combinations would be affected.

The reason for the odd fares was detailed in a MTR press release at the time.

New MTR Fares to Take Effect on 13 June
19 May 2010

Individual MTR, Light Rail and MTR Bus fares will be adjusted from 13 June 2010 (Sunday) with the weighted average adjustment of all fares combined equaling +2.05%. For 83.3% of all passenger trips involved, the adjustment will be 20 cents or less, including about 10% of passengers who will not see any change in their fares.

As a guiding principle, adjustments to Octopus fares have been rounded to the nearest 10 cents and Single Journey fares rounded to the nearest 50 cents. The Corporation has also taken the opportunity to start addressing some fare anomalies which were noted after the West Rail Line was extended to Hung Hom Station. Nevertheless, these anomalies will take some years to resolve completely.

Since the 2010 fare rises, the number of MTR journeys where a single journey ticket is cheaper than an Octopus fare had declined – 2013 was the last year where train journeys featured on the list, and by 2015 only a small number of Light Rail journeys were listed.

Octopus exit processors at a Light Rail stop

Single Journey Ticket Issuing Machine at a Light Rail stop

As time goes on and MTR fares continue to rise, the last of these anomalies will eventually disappear.

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