The underground world is one very different from what we know on the surface, with its own climate and topography. It is also unnatural, inherently dangerous and fascinating.
HKURBEX explores a historical lead mine located on the edge of Hong Kong. It is positioned near a village with ancestral roots which can be traced back to Hakka families.
Although it was a peaceful Hakka rice-making village back in the day, in 1898 the calm was abruptly broken when the British colonisation of Hong Kong suddenly split the village in two. The northern part belonged to China while the southern side was designated as British territory.
Stuck literally in the middle, the villagers were given special permission to access both sides of the area.
Lead was originally discovered in the area in the 1860s, and the mine began operation in 1915. During the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong in the 1940s, the mine was used by the Japanese to produce lead-based ammunition.
Villagers were irritated by the fact that the Japanese army were producing weapons to kill their fellow Chinese using local resources, and they captured the mine and burnt many of the mining facilities.
After WWII, various companies tried to resume operations at the mine but none of these attempts were able to bring it back to its former glory.
Declining lead prices, labour disputes, strikes and typhoon damage were effectively a death sentence and it was closed and abandoned in 1962.