Hong Kong Hidden Gems: Luk Keng WW2 pillboxes
Relics of WWII, like air raid shelters and tunnels, are abundant in Hong Kong. Most of these military constructions, sometimes positioned in the heart of the city, were built by the British in anticipation of Japanese threats which intensified from the 1930’s until the battle of Hong Kong in December 1941.
Luk Keng’s site is an exception as it was built by the Japanese who press-ganged the local villagers’ as a workforce following the British surrender of the area. It seems the complex was constructed quite late during the Japanese occupation (between 1943 and 1945) in response to anti-Japanese activities which were particularly malicious in this part of Hong Kong (and not to monitor allies’ activities).
This complex is made of 14 pillboxes and a well-preserved circular trench situated at the top of a small hill overlooking the Starling inlet, which separates Hong Kong to Shenzhen, and several villages including Nam Chung where the anti-Japanese revolts were particularly strong.
Left abandoned, vegetation gradually covered all structures but thanks to a grade 2 classification granted in 2009 (preservation level fixed by the Hong Kong Antiquities Advisory Board) and a hill fire which re-exposed the site in 2020, interests is growing stronger for this incredible and intact historical evidence of what took place 80 years ago.