The recent Brexit decision has seen the ‘Boris Johnson in a helicopter’ meme crop up again across social media, but for me the view out the door was what caught my eye – I could have sworn it was somewhere in Hong Kong.
I managed to spot the location on Google Maps with my first guess – Boris Johnson was off the western shore of Sham Shui Po, looking down on the Yuen Fat Wharf, Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Fish Market, and Nam Cheong Station.
I was then able to replicate the angle of the original photo using Google Earth.
Quite the bit of detective work, eh?
Boris Johnson visited Hong Kong in October 2013 – here you can find a selection of related photoshop memes, along with the original helicopter photo.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Finding photos of the People’s Liberation Army entering Hong Kong was surprisingly difficult – here are some I found online:
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
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
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.
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?
Local supermarkets stock plenty of different imported beers.
Even the outlying islands still get deliveries of the precious amber nectar.
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.
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.
Slim pickings – then again Hong Kong is just a “Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China”.
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.