Kowloon Walled City
Kowloon Walled City was a densely populated
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

, largely ungoverned settlement in Kowloon
Kowloon is an urban area in Hong Kong comprising the Kowloon Peninsula and New Kowloon. It is bordered by the Lei Yue Mun strait in the east, Mei Foo Sun Chuen and Stonecutter's Island in the west, Tate's Cairn and Lion Rock in the north, and Victoria Harbour in the south. It had a population of...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

. Originally a Chinese
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 military fort, the Walled City became an enclave
Enclave and exclave
In political geography, an enclave is a territory whose geographical boundaries lie entirely within the boundaries of another territory.An exclave, on the other hand, is a territory legally or politically attached to another territory with which it is not physically contiguous.These are two...

 after the New Territories
New Territories
New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong, alongside Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. It makes up 86.2% of Hong Kong's territory. Historically, it is the region described in The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory...

 were leased to Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in 1898.

Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong began after the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Young, surrendered the territory of Hong Kong to Japan on 25 December 1941 after 18 days of fierce fighting by British and Canadian defenders against overwhelming Japanese Imperial forces. The occupation lasted...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. From the 1950s to the 1970s, it was controlled by Triads and had high rates of prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

, gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

, and drug use
Drug abuse
Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, refers to a maladaptive pattern of use of a substance that is not considered dependent. The term "drug abuse" does not exclude dependency, but is otherwise used in a similar manner in nonmedical contexts...

. In 1987, the Walled City contained 33,000 residents within its 6.5-acre (0.03 km; 0.01 sq mi) borders.

In January 1987, the Hong Kong government
Government of Hong Kong
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, commonly the Hong Kong Government, is led by the Chief Executive as Head of the Government, who is also the head of the Hong Kong SAR...

 announced plans to demolish
Demolition is the tearing-down of buildings and other structures, the opposite of construction. Demolition contrasts with deconstruction, which involves taking a building apart while carefully preserving valuable elements for re-use....

 the Walled City. After an arduous eviction
How you doing???? Eviction is the removal of a tenant from rental property by the landlord. Depending on the laws of the jurisdiction, eviction may also be known as unlawful detainer, summary possession, summary dispossess, forcible detainer, ejectment, and repossession, among other terms...

 process, demolition began in March 1993 and was completed in April 1994. Kowloon Walled City Park opened in December 1995 and occupies the area of the former Walled City. Some historical artifact
Artifact (archaeology)
An artifact or artefact is "something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or a work of art, esp an object of archaeological interest"...

s from the Walled City, including its yamen
A yamen is any local bureaucrat's, or mandarin's, office and residence of the Chinese Empire. The term has been widely used in China for centuries, but appeared in English during the Qing Dynasty....

 building and remnants of its South Gate, have been preserved there.

Military outpost

The history of the Walled City can be traced back to the Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

 (960–1279), when an outpost was set up to manage the trade of salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

. Little took place for hundreds of years afterward, although 30 guards were stationed there in 1668. A small coastal fort was established around 1810. In 1842, during Qing
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 Emperor Daoguang
Daoguang Emperor
The Daoguang Emperor was the eighth emperor of the Manchurian Qing dynasty and the sixth Qing emperor to rule over China, from 1820 to 1850.-Early years:...

's reign, Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island is an island in the southern part of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It has a population of 1,289,500 and its population density is 16,390/km², as of 2008...

 was ceded to Britain in accordance with the Treaty of Nanjing
Treaty of Nanking
The Treaty of Nanking was signed on 29 August 1842 to mark the end of the First Opium War between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Qing Dynasty of China...

. As a result, the Qing authorities felt it necessary to improve the fort in order to rule the area and check further British influence. The improvements, including the formidable defensive wall
Defensive wall
A defensive wall is a fortification used to protect a city or settlement from potential aggressors. In ancient to modern times, they were used to enclose settlements...

, were completed in 1847. The Walled City was captured by rebels during the Taiping Rebellion
Taiping Rebellion
The Taiping Rebellion was a widespread civil war in southern China from 1850 to 1864, led by heterodox Christian convert Hong Xiuquan, who, having received visions, maintained that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ, against the ruling Manchu-led Qing Dynasty...

 in 1854 before being retaken a few weeks later.

The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory
Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory
The Convention Between Great Britain and China Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory or the Second Convention of Peking was a lease signed between Qing Dynasty and the United Kingdom in 1898.-Background:...

 of 1898 handed additional parts of Hong Kong (the New Territories
New Territories
New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong, alongside Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. It makes up 86.2% of Hong Kong's territory. Historically, it is the region described in The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory...

) to Britain for 99 years, but excluded the Walled City, which at the time had a population of roughly 700. China was allowed to continue to keep officials there as long as they did not interfere with the defence of British Hong Kong
British Hong Kong
British Hong Kong refers to Hong Kong as a Crown colony and later, a British dependent territory under British administration from 1841 to 1997.- Colonial establishment :...

. The following year, the Governor, Sir Henry Blake
Henry Arthur Blake
Sir Henry Arthur Blake GCMG, DL was a British colonial administrator, Governor of Hong Kong from 1898 to 1903.-Early life and career:...

, suspected that the Viceroy of Canton was using troops to aid resistance to the new arrangements. On 16 May 1899, British forces attacked the Walled City, only to find the Viceroy's soldiers gone, leaving behind only the mandarin
Mandarin (bureaucrat)
A mandarin was a bureaucrat in imperial China, and also in the monarchist days of Vietnam where the system of Imperial examinations and scholar-bureaucrats was adopted under Chinese influence.-History and use of the term:...

 and 150 residents.

Though the British claimed ownership of the Walled City, they did little with it over the following few decades. The Protestant church established an old people's home
Old people's home
The term old people's home can refer to one of the following:* nursing home* retirement home...

 in the Yamen, as well as a school and almshouse
Almshouses are charitable housing provided to enable people to live in a particular community...

 in other former offices. Aside from such institutions, however, the Walled City became a mere curiosity for British colonials and tourists to visit. In 1933, the Hong Kong authorities announced plans to demolish most of the decaying Walled City's buildings, compensating the 436 squatters that lived there with new homes. By 1940 only the Yamen, the school, and one house remained. During its World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 occupation of Hong Kong
Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong began after the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Young, surrendered the territory of Hong Kong to Japan on 25 December 1941 after 18 days of fierce fighting by British and Canadian defenders against overwhelming Japanese Imperial forces. The occupation lasted...

, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 demolished the City's wall and used the stone to extend the nearby Kai Tak Airport
Kai Tak Airport
Kai Tak Airport was the international airport of Hong Kong from 1925 until 1998. It was officially known as the Hong Kong International Airport from 1954 to 6 July 1998, when it was closed and replaced by the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, 30 km to the west...


Urban settlement

After Japan's surrender
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

, China announced its intent to reclaim its rights to the Walled City. Refugees poured in to take advantage of Chinese protection, and 2,000 squatters occupied the Walled City by 1947. After a failed attempt to drive them out in 1948, the British adopted a 'hands-off' policy in most matters concerning the Walled City.

With no government enforcement from the Chinese or the British save for a few raids by the Hong Kong Police, the Walled City became a haven for crime and drugs. It was only during a 1959 trial for a murder that occurred within the Walled City that the Hong Kong government was ruled to have jurisdiction there. By this time, however, the Walled City was virtually ruled by the organized crime syndicates known as Triads.

Beginning in the 1950s, Triad groups such as the 14K
14K Triad
The 14K is a Triad group based in Hong Kong but active internationally. It is the second largest Triad group in the world with around 20,000 members split into thirty subgroups. They are the main rival of the Sun Yee On, which is the largest Triad. The 14K are responsible for large-scale drug...

 and Sun Yee On
Sun Yee On
Sun Yee On is one of the leading triads in Hong Kong and Mainland China, with the most members – more than 40,000 – worldwide....

 gained a stranglehold on the Walled City's countless brothel
Brothels are business establishments where patrons can engage in sexual activities with prostitutes. Brothels are known under a variety of names, including bordello, cathouse, knocking shop, whorehouse, strumpet house, sporting house, house of ill repute, house of prostitution, and bawdy house...

s, gambling parlors
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

, and opium den
Opium den
An opium den was an establishment where opium was sold and smoked. Opium dens were prevalent in many parts of the world in the 19th century, most notably China, Southeast Asia, North America and France...

s. The Walled City had become such a haven for criminals that police would venture into it only in large groups. It was not until 1973–74, when a series of more than 3,500 police raids resulted in over 2,500 arrests and over 4,000 pounds of seized drugs, that the Triads' power began to wane. With public support, particularly from younger residents, the continued raids gradually eroded drug use and violent crime. In 1983, the police commander of the Kowloon City District
Kowloon City District
Kowloon City District is one of the 18 districts of Hong Kong. It is located in Kowloon. It had a population of 381,352 in 2001. The district has the third most educated residents while its residents enjoy the highest income in Kowloon....

 declared the Walled City's crime rate to be under control.
The City also underwent massive construction during the 1960s and 1970s. Eight municipal pipes provided water to the entire structure (although more could have come from wells). A few of the streets were illuminated by fluorescent lights, as sunlight rarely reached the lower levels. Although the rampant crime of earlier decades diminished in later years, the Walled City was still known for its high number of unlicensed doctors and dentist
A dentist, also known as a 'dental surgeon', is a doctor that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. The dentist's supporting team aides in providing oral health services...

s, who could operate there without threat of prosecution.

Although the Walled City was for many years a hotbed of criminal activity, most residents were not involved in any crime and lived peacefully within its walls. Numerous small factories and businesses thrived inside the Walled City, and some residents formed groups to organize and improve daily life there. An attempt by the government in 1963 to demolish some shacks in a corner of the City gave rise to an "antidemolition committee" that served as the basis for a Kaifong association. Charities, religious societies, and other welfare groups were gradually introduced to the City. While medical clinics and schools went unregulated, the Hong Kong government did provide some services, such as water supply and mail delivery.

Eviction and demolition

Over time, both the British and the Chinese governments found the City to be increasingly intolerable, despite the low reported crime rate. The quality of life in the City—sanitary conditions in particular—was far behind the rest of Hong Kong. The Sino-British Joint Declaration
Sino-British Joint Declaration
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, formally known as the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong, was signed by the Prime Ministers, Zhao Ziyang and Margaret...

 in 1984 laid the groundwork for the City's demolition. The mutual decision to tear down the Walled City was announced on 14 January 1987.

The government spent some HK$
Hong Kong dollar
The Hong Kong dollar is the currency of the jurisdiction. It is the eighth most traded currency in the world. In English, it is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively HK$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

2.7 billion (US$350 million) in compensation to the estimated 33,000 residents and businesses in a plan devised by a special committee of the Hong Kong Housing Authority
Hong Kong Housing Authority
The Hong Kong Housing Authority is the main provider of public housing in Hong Kong. It was established in 1973 under the Housing Ordinance and is an agency of the Government of Hong Kong...

. Some residents were not satisfied with the compensation, and were forcibly evicted between November 1991 and July 1992. After four months of planning, demolition of the Walled City began on 23 March 1993 and concluded in April 1994. Construction work on Kowloon Walled City Park started the following month.

Layout and architecture

The Walled City was located in what became known as the Kowloon City
Kowloon City
Kowloon City is an area in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It is named after the Kowloon Walled City, and is administratively part of Kowloon City District....

 area of Kowloon. In spite of its transformation from a fort into an urban enclave, the Walled City retained the same basic layout. The original fort was built on a slope and consisted of a 6.5-acre (0.03 km; 0.01 sq mi) plot measuring about 210 by 120 m (700 by 400 ft). The stone wall surrounding it had four entrances and measured 4 m (13 ft) tall and 4.6 m (15 ft) thick before it was dismantled in 1943.

Construction surged dramatically during the 1960s and 1970s, until the formerly low-rise
A low-rise is a building that is only a few stories tall.There is no universally accepted height requirement for a building to be considered a low-rise...

 City consisted almost entirely of buildings with 10 stories or more (with the notable exception of the Yamen in its center). However, due to the Kai Tak Airport's position 0.8 km (0.5 mi) south of the City, buildings did not exceed 14 stories. The two-story Sai Tau Tsuen settlement bordered the Walled City to the south and west until it was cleared in 1985 and replaced with Carpenter Road Park.

The City's dozens of alley
An alley or alleyway is a narrow lane found in urban areas, often for pedestrians only, which usually runs between or behind buildings. In older cities and towns in Europe, alleys are often what is left of a medieval street network, or a right of way or ancient footpath in an urban setting...

ways were often only 1 – wide, and had poor lighting and drainage. An informal network of staircases and passageways also formed on upper levels, which was so extensive that one could travel north to south through the entire City without ever touching solid ground. Construction in the City went unregulated, and most of the roughly 350 buildings were built with poor foundations and few or no utilities
Public utility
A public utility is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service . Public utilities are subject to forms of public control and regulation ranging from local community-based groups to state-wide government monopolies...

. Because apartments were so small—about 60% were 23 square metre—space was maximized with wider upper floors, caged balconies, and rooftop additions. Roof
A roof is the covering on the uppermost part of a building. A roof protects the building and its contents from the effects of weather. Structures that require roofs range from a letter box to a cathedral or stadium, dwellings being the most numerous....

s in the City were full of television antennas, clotheslines, water tanks, and garbage, and could be crossed using a series of ladders.


Kowloon Walled City's early population fluctuated between zero and a few hundred, and began growing steadily shortly after World War II. However, there is no accurate population information available for much of the Walled City's later existence. Official census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 numbers estimated the Walled City's population at 10,004 in 1971 and 14,617 in 1981, but these figures were commonly considered to be much too low. Informal estimates, on the other hand, often mistakenly included the neighboring squatter village of Sai Tau Tsuen.

A thorough government survey in 1987 gave a clearer picture: an estimated 33,000 people resided within the Walled City. Based on this survey, the Walled City had a population density of approximately 1,255,000/km (3,249,000/sq mi) in 1987. For comparison, Hong Kong as a whole (itself one of the most densely populated areas on earth) had a population density of about 6,700/km (17,000/sq mi) as of July 2009.


Contrary to what many outsiders believed, most residents of the Walled City behaved similarly to other Hong Kongers
Hong Kong people
Hong Kong people refer to people who originate from Hong Kong. The term has no legal definition in Hong Kong. Rather, terms such as Hong Kong permanent resident and Hong Kong resident are used...

. They were generally hardworking people who showed concern for living conditions, education and other pressing issues. Residents also formed a tightly knit community, helping one another endure various hardships.

Within families, wives often did housekeeping, while grandmothers cared for their grandchildren and other children from surrounding households. The City's rooftops were an important gathering place, especially for residents who lived on upper floors. Parents used them to relax, and children would play or do homework there after school.

The Yamen in the heart of the City was also a major social centre, a place for residents to talk, have tea or watch television, and to take classes such as calligraphy. The Old People's Centre also held religious meetings for Christians and others. Other religious institutions included the Fuk Tak and Tin Hau
Tin Hau temples in Hong Kong
Over 70 temples are dedicated to Tin Hau in Hong Kong. They include:* Tin Hau temple, located at 10 Tin Hau Temple Road, Causeway Bay, east of Victoria Park, in Eastern District, on Hong Kong Island. It is a declared monument. The temple has given its name to the MTR station serving it .* The Tin...

 temples, which were used for a combination of Buddhist, Taoist, and animist practices.

Kowloon Walled City Park

The area where the Walled City once stood is now Kowloon Walled City Park (九龍寨城公園), located in today's Kowloon City District. The 31000 square metre park
A park is a protected area, in its natural or semi-natural state, or planted, and set aside for human recreation and enjoyment, or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. It may consist of rocks, soil, water, flora and fauna and grass areas. Many parks are legally protected by...

 was completed in August 1995, and opened officially a few months later on 22 December. Construction of the park cost a total of HK$76 million (US$9.8 million). It is adjacent to Carpenter Road Park.

The park's design is modeled on Jiangnan
Jiangnan or Jiang Nan is a geographic area in China referring to lands immediately to the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, including the southern part of the Yangtze Delta...

Chinese garden
The Chinese garden, also known as a Chinese classical garden, is a style of landscape garden which has evolved for more than three thousand years, and which is inspired by Chinese literature, Chinese painting and Chinese philosophy...

 of the early Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

. It is divided into eight landscape features, with the fully restored Yamen
A yamen is any local bureaucrat's, or mandarin's, office and residence of the Chinese Empire. The term has been widely used in China for centuries, but appeared in English during the Qing Dynasty....

 as its centrepiece. The park's paths and pavilions
Pavilion (structure)
In architecture a pavilion has two main meanings.-Free-standing structure:Pavilion may refer to a free-standing structure sited a short distance from a main residence, whose architecture makes it an object of pleasure. Large or small, there is usually a connection with relaxation and pleasure in...

 are named after streets and buildings in the Walled City. Artifacts from the Walled City, such as five inscribed stones and three old wells, are also on display in the park.
Components of the park include:
  • The Eight Floral Walks, each named after a different plant or flower
  • The Chess Garden, featuring four 3 by 5 m (9.8 by 16 ft) Chinese chessboards
  • The Garden of Chinese Zodiac, containing stone statues of the 12 Chinese zodiac
    Chinese zodiac
    The Shēngxiào , better known in English as the Chinese Zodiac, is a scheme that relates each year to an animal and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year mathematical cycle...

  • The Garden of Four Seasons (named Guangyin Square after the small open area in the Walled City), a 300 m² (3,229.2 sq ft) garden with plants that symbolize the four seasons
  • The Six Arts Terrace, a 600 m² (6,458.3 sq ft) wedding area containing a garden and the Bamboo Pavilion
  • The Kuixing Pavilion, including a moon gate
    Moon gate
    A Moon Gate is a circular opening in a garden wall that acts as a pedestrian passageway, and a traditional architectural element in Chinese gardens. Moon Gates have many different spiritual meanings for every piece of tile on the gate and on the shape of it...

     framed by two stone tablets and the towering Guibi Rock, which represents Hong Kong's return to China
  • The Mountain View Pavilion, a two-story structure resembling a docked boat that provides a good view of the entire park
  • The Lung Tsun, Yuk Tong, and Lung Nam Pavilions
  • The Yamen and the remains of the South Gate (see below).

Declared monuments

The Antiquities and Monuments Office
Antiquities and Monuments Office
Antiquities and Monuments Office was established when the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance was enacted in 1976, to preserve Hong Kong's monuments under appropriate protection....

 conducted archaeological examinations as the Walled City was being demolished, and several cultural remains were discovered. Among them were the Walled City's Yamen and remnants of its South Gate, which were officially designated as declared monuments of Hong Kong
Declared monuments of Hong Kong
Declared monuments of Hong Kong are places, structures or buildings legally declared to be "protected". In Hong Kong, declaring a monument requires consulting the Antiquities Advisory Board, the approval of the Chief Executive as well as the publication of the notice in government gazette.As of 12...

 on 4 October 1996.

The South Gate had originally served as the Walled City's main entrance. Along with its foundations, other remains included two stone plaques inscribed with "South Gate" and "Kowloon Walled City" from the South Gate and a flagstone path that had led up to it. The foundations of the City's wall and East Gate were also discovered. The Hong Kong government preserved the South Gate remnants next to a square in front of the Yamen.

The Yamen building is made up of three halls; originally the middle hall served as the Assistant Magistrate of Kowloon's administrative office, and the rear block was his residence. After the government officials left the area in 1899, it was used for several other purposes, including an old people's home, a refuge for widows and orphans, a school, and a clinic. It was restored in 1996 and is now found near the center of the park. It contains a photo gallery of the Walled City, and two cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

s dating back to 1802 sit at the sides of its entrance.

Cultural depictions

A few people who spent time in Kowloon Walled City have written accounts of their experiences. Evangelist Jackie Pullinger
Jackie Pullinger
Jackie Pullinger MBE is a British Protestant Christian charismatic missionary to Hong Kong and founder of the St Stephen's Society. She has been ministering in Hong Kong since 1966. Her work has resulted in at least 1000 drug addicts being saved from their drug addictions...

 wrote a 1989 memoir, Crack in the Wall, about her involvement in treating drug addicts within the Walled City. In his 2004 autobiography Gweilo, Martin Booth
Martin Booth
Martin Booth was a prolific British novelist and poet. He also worked as a teacher and screenwriter, and was the founder of the Sceptre Press.-Early life:...

 describes his exploration of the Walled City as a child in the 1950s. In addition to such accounts, many authors, game designers, and filmmakers have used the Walled City to convey a sense of oppressive urbanization or unfettered criminality.

In literature, Robert Ludlum
Robert Ludlum
Robert Ludlum was an American author of 23 thriller novels. The number of his books in print is estimated between 290–500 million copies. They have been published in 33 languages and 40 countries. Ludlum also published books under the pseudonyms Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd.-Life and...

's novel The Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Supremacy is the second Jason Bourne novel written by Robert Ludlum, first published in 1986. It was the sequel to Ludlum's bestseller The Bourne Identity and precedes Ludlum's final Bourne novel, The Bourne Ultimatum ....

uses the Walled City as one of its settings. The City appears as a virtual reality environment (described by Steven Poole
Steven Poole
-Biography:Poole studied English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and has subsequently written for publications including The Independent, The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, The Sunday Times, and the New Statesman...

 as an "oasis of political and creative freedom") in William Gibson
William Gibson
William Gibson is an American-Canadian science fiction author.William Gibson may also refer to:-Association football:*Will Gibson , Scottish footballer...

's Bridge trilogy
Bridge trilogy
The Bridge trilogy is a series of novels by William Gibson, his second after the successful Sprawl trilogy. The trilogy comprises the novels Virtual Light , Idoru, and All Tomorrow's Parties .-Setting:...

, and as a contrast with Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 in his Wired
Wired (magazine)
Wired is a full-color monthly American magazine and on-line periodical, published since January 1993, that reports on how new and developing technology affects culture, the economy, and politics...

article "Disneyland with the Death Penalty
Disneyland with the Death Penalty
"Disneyland with the Death Penalty" is an article about Singapore written by William Gibson, his first major piece of non-fiction, first published as the cover story for Wired magazine's September/October 1993 issue ....

". In the manga
Manga is the Japanese word for "comics" and consists of comics and print cartoons . In the West, the term "manga" has been appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan, or by Japanese authors, in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 19th...

 Crying Freeman
Crying Freeman
is a manga by Kazuo Koike & Ryoichi Ikegami about an assassin who sheds tears after he kills his targets. Crying Freeman follows the title assassin, a Japanese man hypnotized and trained by the Chinese mafia to serve as its agent, and covered in a vast and complex dragon tattoo...

, the titular character's wife travels to the Walled City to master her swordsmanship and control a cursed sword. The manga Blood+: Kowloon Nights uses the Walled City as the setting for a series of murders.

The 1984 gangster film Long Arm of the Law
Long Arm of the Law (film)
Long Arm of the Law is a 1984 Hong Kong film directed by Johnny Mak.The film was followed by two sequels: Long Arm of the Law II and Long Arm of the Law III .-Cast:* Chen Jing* Kong Lung* Ben Lam Kwok Bun* David Lam Wai...

features the Walled City as a refuge for gang members before they are gunned down by police. In the 1988 film Bloodsport
Bloodsport (film)
Bloodsport is a 1988 American martial arts film directed by Newt Arnold and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Donald Gibb and Leah Ayres. The film is based on the claimed adventures of Frank Dux, and was followed by three sequels Bloodsport II: The Next Kumite , Bloodsport III and Bloodsport 4: The...

, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg , professionally known as Jean-Claude Van Damme, is a Belgian martial artist and actor, best known for his martial arts action films, the most successful of which include Bloodsport , Kickboxer , Double Impact , Universal Soldier , Hard Target , Timecop ,...

, the Walled City is the setting for a martial arts tournament. The 1992 non-narrative film Baraka
Baraka (film)
Baraka is a 1992 non-narrative film directed by Ron Fricke. The title Baraka is a word that means blessing in a multitude of languages....

 features several highly detailed shots of the Walled City shortly before its demolition. The 1993 film Crime Story starring Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan, SBS, MBE is a Hong Kong actor, action choreographer, comedian, director, producer, martial artist, screenwriter, entrepreneur, singer and stunt performer. In his movies, he is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons, and innovative stunts...

 was partly filmed in the deserted Walled City, and includes real scenes of building explosions. A walled neighborhood called the Narrows in the 2005 film Batman Begins
Batman Begins
Batman Begins is a 2005 American superhero action film based on the fictional DC Comics character Batman, directed by Christopher Nolan. It stars Christian Bale as Batman, along with Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, Tom Wilkinson,...

was inspired by the Walled City. The 2006 Hong Kong horror film Re-cycle
Re-cycle is a 2006 horror film directed by the Pang Brothers and starring Angelica Lee. The film was the closing film in the Un Certain Regard program at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. It was also a reunion for Pangs and the actress Lee, who starred in the Pang's 2002 hit, The Eye...

features a decrepit, nightmarish version of the Walled City, complete with tortured souls from which the protagonist must flee. The anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

 series Street Fighter II V
Street Fighter II V
, is an anime series based on the fighting game Street Fighter II. Directed by Gisaburo Sugii , the series first aired in Japan in 1995, from April 10 to November 27, on YTV...

featured Kowloon Walled City as the location of an underground fighting circuit.
Kowloon Walled City is also featured in several games, including Kowloon's Gate
Kowloon's Gate
Kowloon's Gate is an adventure video game developed by Zeque. It was released for the PlayStation in Japan on February 28, 1997, and re-released for the PlayStation Network on April 14, 2010.The game is set in Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong...

, Shenmue II
Shenmue II
is a adventure game for the Dreamcast and Xbox. It is the sequel to Shenmue, and was produced and directed by Yu Suzuki of Sega AM2.Due to exclusivity rights obtained by Microsoft, the North American Dreamcast version was cancelled. Because of this, no English dub was recorded for the Dreamcast...

and Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty: Black Ops is a first-person shooter video game developed by Treyarch, published by Activision and released worldwide on November 9, for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii consoles, with a separate version for Nintendo DS developed by n-Space. Announced on April 30, 2010,...

. Several missions in the Hitman
Hitman (series)
Hitman is a stealth game series developed by the Danish company IO Interactive. The series is available on PC as well as several video game consoles, including the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360. The game series has since expanded into a novel, Hitman: Enemy Within written by...

series take place within it. The game Stranglehold
Stranglehold (video game)
Stranglehold, or John Woo Presents Stranglehold, is a third-person shooter developed by Midway Games' Chicago studio, released in late for Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 3...

, a sequel to the film Hard Boiled
Hard Boiled
Hard Boiled is a 1992 Hong Kong action film directed by John Woo. The film stars Chow Yun-fat as Inspector "Tequila" Yuen, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as Tony, an undercover cop, and Anthony Wong as Johnny Wong, a leader of criminal triads. The film features Tequila, whose partner is killed in a tea...

, features a version of the Walled City filled with hundreds of Triad members. In the games Fear Effect
Fear Effect
Fear Effect is an action-adventure game released for the PlayStation in 1999. It was developed by Kronos Digital Entertainment and published by Eidos Interactive. The story concerns three outlaws named Hana, Deke, and Glas who are trying to retrieve the missing daughter of a wealthy Chinese...

and Fear Effect 2, photographs of the Walled City were used as inspiration "for moods, camera angles and lighting." Concept art for the MMORPG
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game is a genre of role-playing video games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world....

 Guild Wars: Factions depicts massive, densely-packed structures inspired by the Walled City. The pen-and-paper RPG
Role-playing game
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development...

Shadowrun is a role-playing game set in a near-future fictional universe in which cybernetics, magic and fantasy creatures co-exist. It combines genres of cyberpunk, urban fantasy and crime, with occasional elements of conspiracy fiction, horror, and detective fiction.The original game has spawned...

includes a crime-ridden, rebuilt version of the Walled City set in 2070.

See also

  • Lung Tsun Stone Bridge
    Lung Tsun Stone Bridge
    The Lung Tsun Stone Bridge is a former bridge in Hong Kong, that connected Kowloon Walled City to a pier.-History:The construction works of the bridge was commenced in 1873 and completed in1875. The length of the Bridge was about 210m....

  • Chungking Mansions
    Chungking Mansions
    Chungking Mansions, is a building located at 36–44 Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. The building is well known as nearly the cheapest accommodation in Hong Kong. Though the building is supposedly residential, it is made up of many independent low-budget hotels, shops, and other...

    , a building in Hong Kong
  • History of Hong Kong
    History of Hong Kong
    Hong Kong began as a coastal island geographically located off the southern coast of China. While pockets of settlements had taken place in the region with archaeological findings dating back thousands of years, regular written records were not made...

  • List of buildings and structures in Hong Kong
  • List of urban public parks and gardens of Hong Kong
  • Shibam
    Shibam is a town in Yemen with about 7,000 inhabitants. The first known inscription about the city dates from the 3rd century AD...

    , a densely populated city in Yemen
    The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

     of similar nature and construction

External links

Kowloon Walled City
Kowloon Walled City Park
  • Official page with map at the LCSD
    Leisure and Cultural Services Department
    The Leisure and Cultural Services Department , often abbreviated as LCSD, is a department in the Government of Hong Kong. It reports to the Home Affairs Bureau, headed by the Secretary for Home Affairs. It provides leisure and cultural activities for the people of Hong Kong, which was also one of...

  • Photographs of the park
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