HKFP History HKFP Lens

HKFP Lens: Exploring Shing Mun Redoubt, Hong Kong’s secret WWII tunnels

Sunday marks 70 years since the liberation of Hong Kong from the Japanese following World War II.

HKFP explored the remains of an extensive British military defensive line used against the Japanese – the structures stretch for 18km loosely tracing the border between Kowloon and the New Territories.

The Gin Drinkers Line took two years to build and fell after just two days during the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941. Only around 30 soldiers were manning the line during the battle.

The deep defensive tunnels with ventilation shafts and observation points were named after London streets to make life easier – and more familiar – for the British soldiers based there.

The original network passed through Kam Shan, the Shing Mun Reservoir, Beacon Hill, Lion Rock, and Tate’s Cairn, ending at Port Shelter in Sai Kung.

The Gin Drinkers Line was considered a failure due to insufficient troops, poor training and an underestimation of the enemy’s capabilities.

If you’re happy to ignore the very real risk of an unwelcome encounter with a rogue rhesus monkey, much of the network is still intact and can be walked through.

HKFP Lens: Exploring Shing Mun Redoubt, Hong Kong’s secret WWII tunnels