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MolsonExport Aug 29, 2008 8:04 PM

KWCFan: Thanks very much for the new pics and info. I am fascinated with the Kowloon Walled City.

KWCFan Aug 30, 2008 1:13 PM


Originally Posted by MolsonExport (Post 3767213)
KWCFan: Thanks very much for the new pics and info. I am fascinated with the Kowloon Walled City.

your welcome ME, although I found out about KWC recently, I am very much fascinated with the city too. To find new material is quit difficult as they are very rare on the web. Most probably due to non-existence of the city since 1992, a time in which internet wasn't as developed as today.
The new video from youtube I found was thanks to a tip from one of the posters on this forum, i.e., using the chinese characters as search string. But only that one came up.

I really want to see more video's from inside KWC but they are very hard to get/find.
As posted before there are documentaries on the city, two I know of but that's it.

Also various Japanese horror movies seemed to have been recorded there but I think we need a Japanese person to help to find those. Anyone??

What I have found and what has been posted on forums is that this movie with Jackie Chan has scenes which are recorded in the empty city.

I found out about a second documentairy on KWC by reading the forum. That's all I know now.

KWCFan Aug 30, 2008 1:24 PM


Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas (Post 3766754)
I was reading up on it a little yesterday. Fascinating, and just incredible that people could live in such a place. 50,000 people in 0.01 square miles??? Some of the other facts about it were even more incredible in some ways. Its beginnings started as far back as the year 960. Amazing, I had no idea it was that old.

yes it was a very unique place which will never happen/exist anymore. Total chaos, anarchie, a very dark, dark place. Sick imo, but fascinating.

KWCFan Aug 30, 2008 1:36 PM

could contain KWC footage.

Jackie Pullinger wrote two books of which the latter contains many photographs: here is a link.

and here is a review taken from here.

jnbmoore's Full Review: Pullinger - Crack in the Wall: Stories of Changed ...
I first became acquainted with the ministry of Jackie Pullinger when she came to speak at our church in Taiwan. At the time, you could set your watch by the pastor's sermons. Exactly twenty minutes long -- no less, no more.

Jackie shared the story of her ministry and a message of forgiveness and hope for two hours. Only about a third of the church stayed for the whole thing; however, those who left early missed one of the best messages I have ever heard.

Immediately afterwards, I picked up the two books by her they had available. Chasing the Dragon and Crack in the Wall: Life and Death in Kowloon Walled City.

I had hoped to write my review on Chasing the Dragon; however, that is one book that I've had about three copies of thus far and they never find their way home. Crack in the Wall has never become part of my lending library, so it remains safe in my possession.

Who is Jackie Pullinger?

In 1966, Jackie Pullinger was a new Christian with a heart for sharing with others. As she shared in her sermon, as a young convert in England she just felt it was wrong to be staying in a room full of Christians praising God when there were folks outside who had never heard of Jesus.

She felt a strong pull to missions work but was told that she was too young and not educated/experienced enough. So she paid for her passage on a tramp steamer and headed east. When she got to Hong Kong, she felt this is where she should be. She got off the boat, was let in the country even though she didn't have much money to her name.

At first she tried the traditional way of ministering to folks -- passing out tracts. But what do pieces of papers telling of God's love mean to folks who can't read and are taking heroin three times a day? So she began to love and pray for the folks. Lives began to change.

A large part of her ministry was in the Walled City in Kowloon (which was torn down before the handover of Hong Kong to China). The Walled City was the home to Triads (organized crime), prostitution, drugs, and hopelessness. That was and still is her mission field -- modern day untouchables.

She found that many drug addicts would be cured by praying in tongues (a spiritual language unknown to men). Even though men joined the Triads for life, Triad bosses would release their members who found Jesus because they couldn't fight as addicts and once they found Jesus they couldn't follow a Triad boss. They were useless.

From page 37 from this book:

"You can have all the rotten ones (Triad members) and I'll keep the good ones for myself," he (a high-ranking Triad member) finished.

"Fine," I agreed, "Jesus came for the rotten ones anyhow."

What's the book about?

Well-written, Crack in the Wall tells the story of Jackie's ministry in an unemotional, matter-of-fact way. It's not play with your emotions writing that keeps you reading -- it's the stories of changed lives that draws the reader in. It is divided into four sections:

Section 1: Death in the City

The history of the Walled City is given from both a political point of view and a personal point of view of how it affects one young man's life. Jackie's introduction to the Walled City is also mentioned.

There are side bars explaining the Triads, police corruption, British/Chinese relationships, and drugs in Hong Kong.

Section 2: Life in the City

Jackie's agreement with the Triad boss starts this section. She explains how folks were freed from drugs.

There are the first of many testimonies (personal stories) of individuals.

There is a side bar explaining Idols and Ancestor worship.

Section 3: Moving out of the City

It is not good for someone to come clean from drugs and then return to living in an opium den. So they needed other places to go. The British Hong Kong Government stepped in and gave them places to care for folks as reformed drug users and prostitutes became clean and started new lives with new families.

This section is full of one to two page testimonies of lives changed.

Section 4: Building a New City

This section if full of the most hope. The government gave Jackie and others a temporary housing facility (Hang Fook Camp) to use as more permanent homes for folks who had completed the year program. This becomes a mini-town full of hope.

There are side stories about ministry to street sleepers, folks in Macau and the Philippines. There is also a section from the newspaper about the destruction of the Walled City.

This section has some of the strongest testimonies in the book.

Post Script

As this book was published before the handover, it doesn't have any events in that happened after Mainland China regained control of Hong Kong. Jackie and her ministry (St. Stephen's Society) doesn't have a web site and seems to shy away from publicity. However I did learn from a web search that the government did take away the Hang Fook Camp:

However, I did learn elsewhere that they had built a new camp on private land.

Is a picture worth a thousand words?

The one advantage of this book above Chasing the Dragon is that Crack in the Wall is filled with photographs. Not two pages go by without a photograph of a person or scene of Hong Kong. Most of these photos aren't of scenes you'd find on a post card.

There is a heart-wrenching photo of a boy about six trying to wake his father from an opium sleep. The father is just lying on the ground.

Three mug shots of one man over many years time shows the toll heroin takes on the addict -- by the third photo he looks more monster than man.

Think your house is small -- what about a single room full of metal bunk beds that is home to three generations of one family. The photos bring the oppression and unhappiness to life.

But there are other photos in the book. Photos of smiles. Many smiles. There are photos of each person who has a testimony written about them - even in the photos the people seem to be glowing with hope and love.

There is touching photograph of Jackie and others ministering and touching a street sleeper (the same street sleepers I sadly admit I adverted my eyes to and walked by on my Hong Kong trips). The street sleeper seemed to come alive from the prayers and the simple touch of another person.

The photos are what bring this book to life. There are no photos in here that would be too graphic for a young child.

Final recommendations

I cannot recommend this book high enough - it's not preachy. It's a matter of fact portrait of folks who lost so much in the world and regained life through Jesus Christ.

I recommend it to skeptics -- the personal stories of these folks may give you room to think.

I recommend it those who attend perfect churches full of perfect people where the walls might fall down if a former drug user walked in the door -- it will show you how God uses broken lives.

I recommend it those with imperfect pasts -- it will show you that Jesus is there for folks who aren't perfect.

I recommend it for those at churches full of grace -- it may open your heart to others.

I recommend it to folks who believe that speaking in tongues is the work of the devil -- Satan doesn't want folks to be free from drugs and vice.

I recommend it those interested in Asia -- the sidebars are great history lessons to the region.

I recommend it to those who have a disdain of the teleevangelists on TV -- I am no fan of the "big hair" stations; but it's nice to know that real folks are doing real ministry.

I recommend it to you -- wouldn't you like to hear the individual stories and see all the puzzle pieces fit together?


MolsonExport Aug 31, 2008 12:33 PM

I remember reading about Jackie Pullinger in "The City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City"). I will try to read this book as well.

KWCFan Sep 10, 2008 11:32 PM

ok, once you've read it let me know.

MolsonExport Nov 6, 2008 5:19 PM

Here are some other angles:


Here is a map of the park that sits on the footprint of the former WCK:


other shots:

Video of the infamous Chunking Mansions:
Video Link

MolsonExport Nov 6, 2008 5:33 PM

More insights into the history of the Walled City of Kowloon.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Kowloon Walled City
Hong Kong Island was obtained by the British in 1842 as part of the Treaty of Nanjing that ended the first Opium War. Though opium was illegal in Britain, the British fought this war with China to ensure that they would have a commodity that there was demand for in China in order to correct the huge trade imbalance created by British demand for tea, spices, porcelain, silk, art, and other Chinese goods. Opium was one of the first truly global commodities, with a production chain wrapping the world. Grown in India, processed in Afghanistan, shipped by Americans, and sold by Brits in East Asia, opium was one of the first 'vertically integrated' global products, with all aspects of production from farm to front controlled by the British Empire.

The British obtained Hong Kong from the Qing emperor to use as a port in this trade. After the second opium war, the mainland side of the harbor, Kowloon, was added to the British possession. In 1898, the British leased the New Territories and Lantau Island for 99 years from the Qing, to ensure adequate food and water supply. It was the expiration of this lease that led to the return of the entire possession in 1997, since to separate the New Territories from Kowloon and HK Island by then would have been like returning a body but trying to keep a head alive.

The Qing court retained one 0.026 sq. km. parcel of land in Kowloon, a toehold that was kept as a garrison to keep an eye on the British. Known as the Kowloon Walled City, this fortified settlement was abandoned after the Qing dynasty fell in 1911, but remained Chinese territory. At that time, the population of the walled city was approximately 700. In the ensuing decades, the city became a lawless place, full of Triad mobsters and a lively informal economy composed of unlicensed and illegal businesses, secret factories, labyrinthine corridors where no sunlight ever shone. Lacking any planning regulation, buildings and utility service were modified at will. Eventually, the Kowloon Walled City reached the highest recorded residential densities in human history, with an estimated population of 50,000 inhabitants in the 1980's.

The Chinese and the British agreed to demolish the city in 1987, and today the site is the Kowloon Walled City Park.

source: http://chinesemigrantworker.blogspot...lled-city.html

some great first-hand accounts of residents can be found here:

dchan Nov 6, 2008 10:07 PM

It's an exceptionally fascinating place. My first post on SSP was on this thread because I was looking up info on the Walled City myself. China owned the city, but did not give a rats ass about it, and Hong Kong and the UK couldn't do much about it since they had no jurisdiction.

The city is a good case study in 'anarchy'. Despite the fact that nobody officially policed the place, 50000 people still decided that it was good enough to live in cramped, dank, sunlight-deprived conditions. Granted, a good chunk of them were probably illegal immigrants/criminals from China. Off hand, I'm guessing that the Triads were the unofficial police there and used their reputation to keep the place safe and stable enough to go about their own business, whatever it happened to be.

scalziand Nov 8, 2008 10:19 PM

Who had the jurisdiction to impose the 14 floor height limit?

I wonder how high the buildings would have been if there was no limit.

MolsonExport Jan 10, 2009 2:57 AM

^who knows. An interesting question for sure. The British enforced the height limit for the path into Kai tek airport.

MolsonExport Feb 2, 2009 7:11 PM


Originally Posted by dchan (Post 3896177)
It's an exceptionally fascinating place. My first post on SSP was on this thread because I was looking up info on the Walled City myself. China owned the city, but did not give a rats ass about it, and Hong Kong and the UK couldn't do much about it since they had no jurisdiction.

The city is a good case study in 'anarchy'. Despite the fact that nobody officially policed the place, 50000 people still decided that it was good enough to live in cramped, dank, sunlight-deprived conditions. Granted, a good chunk of them were probably illegal immigrants/criminals from China. Off hand, I'm guessing that the Triads were the unofficial police there and used their reputation to keep the place safe and stable enough to go about their own business, whatever it happened to be.

^from my reading of "City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon's Walled City", this was largely true.

EricFletcher Mar 2, 2009 5:41 PM

Update on one of my old photos posted here without permission

Originally Posted by MolsonExport (Post 1010582)

I've been wondering why my web logs show so many serves on this little photo. Now I know. ;)

I realize MolsonExport's initial use of my picture was some time ago (2004 in fact), and likely before the new policy statement about giving photo attribution was posted. Be aware that when an image is "pulled" like this, every view of the page causes the source site to serve it -- and that each time, a web log record is generated. The log record leads directly to the page requesting the image -- in this case, to this forum.

I'm not bringing this up to make waves or to insist on payment; rather, to help reinforce good etiquette. I'm flattered if you think my photo is worth using to illustrate a point, but I do expect credit for it.:tup:

In any case, for those interested in the subject of this image, I took it in 2000 while visiting Mai Po bird sanctuary. At the time I was very discouraged about how the wall of skyscrapers would apparently destroy the wetlands.

When I returned again in January 2009, I made a point of returning. Not only had the encroachment stopped, but now the extremely well-designed Hong Kong Wetlands Park forms an "information barrier" between the buildings and the real wetlands. As the picture below shows, it is very popular.

The image is a composite of several shots I took on a very hazy day. I then rendered the images to get higher dynamic range to overcome the haze.

The image below is an updated view of the Tin Shui apartment complex that was being built when I visited in 2000. The wetlands are still there, and now many more Hong Kong residents have a sense of why the wetlands are beneficial to everyone.

MolsonExport Mar 4, 2009 6:45 PM

^As you pointed out, these postings go back way before the current policy was implemented. And they are nice pictures, by the way.

Another book on the Walled City of Kowloon:

MolsonExport Apr 28, 2009 5:40 PM

Finally found some more great photos on the Walled City of Kowloon:


all photos from (where more can also be found)

Here is a good one after the surrounding squatter camps were torn down:

historical entrance/cannon:

Wall-E made this:

This is not to be confused with the hanging gardens of babylon:

Helter Skelter:

A typical 'factory' inside the walled city:

ethereal_reality Apr 29, 2009 4:04 PM

Amazing photographs. Thanks for posting them.

villelumiere May 10, 2009 12:58 AM

Bizarre place. At once fascinating that if existed and horrifyingly real.

MolsonExport May 13, 2009 5:13 PM

I see that Wikipedia now has an external link to my Walled city thread:

Quote: forum thread devoted to Kowloon Walled City, information, pictures and videos [/Quote]

MolsonExport May 17, 2009 3:39 AM

will this thread hit 1ooK views?

MolsonExport May 20, 2009 4:22 PM

finally some more photos/info/etc. on KWC:

Also, from

Intrepid explorers of the KWC

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