Welcome to ARCH4701

Research of sustainable planning strategies at industrial legacy site

Gin Drinkers Bay in Kwai Chung, was a harbour for Tanka fishing junks until the bay was reclaimed in the 1960s and became Kwai Fong and part of Kwai Hing. At the mouth of the bay stood the island of Tsing Chau (Pillar Island) which became a land extension of Kwai Chung. The Bay is known as a key part of the Gin Drinkers Line, which formed a defensive line against the Japanese invasion in 1941.

According to Denis Bray’s accounts of Hong Kong in the 50’s, the Bay was colloquially named after the extravagant launch parties for new ships that used to take place in the bay, long before the wars started, and because it was a popular spot for the rich to throw their boat parties.

Ship building and ship breaking were once two major industries in Hong Kong, of world importance and employing large numbers of people. There are a few small shipyards still left, mainly for repair and maintenance. Ship breaking has vanished. Ship-breaking in Hong Kong goes back to at least 1861 when the Bombay (Mumbai) built Minden was sold for demolition here. The industry was at its peak in the post WW2 period which the article documents in some detail. In 1961 when it was written there 23 ship breaking companies registered with the Marine Department, representing a total investment of HKD100 million and employing over 4,000 people. Between 1947 and 1950 the industry mainly relied on war wrecks from HK harbour, in 1949 and 1950 unwanted “Liberty ships” were broken up. By 1959 HK had the largest ship breaking industry of any port worldwide and ships were being brought here faster than they could be dealt with.

In the 1960s the surrounding areas started to be developed as part of Tsuen Wan New Town, and Gin Drinkers Bay Landfill was commissioned in 1960 as the first public waste landfill in Hong Kong earning the bay the epithet of, Lap Sap Wan, (垃圾灣 “rubbish bay”). One section of the Airport Railway Express linking the Chek Lap Kok International Airport and the city centre runs through the Gin Drinker’s Bay Landfill, which ceased operation in 1979. The site had no landfill lining system and existing subsoil drains were largely ineffective in intercepting migrating leachate. The gas content was considered such a hazard that the site, intended as Kwai Chung Park, was not opened to public. In 1999, the Landfill (including the unopened Park) was handed over to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) for landfill restoration work, which included installing landfill gas and leachate collection and treatment systems, capping layers, stormwater drainage system, slope stabilisation and beautification works and subsequently the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) took over the development of the site, and considered various development options, such as the construction of recreational facilities and the development of facilities by “national sports associations” (NSAs). However, none of these options were taken forward due to site constraints and the financial position of the NSAs.

Excluding the site of the Hong Kong Jockey Club International BMX Park developed by the Hong Kong Cycling Association in October 2009 at the lower platform (about 4 hectares) of the Landfill, about 20 hectares of land are available for development. Technical issues related to the development works require special attention. For example, no large structures can be built on the site to avoid excessive loading on the capping system and any adverse effect on the restoration facilities of the Landfill.
Another portion of the site has been allocated to the Hong Kong Cricket Association on a short term lease for development of temporary cricket grounds.


Kwai Chung Incineration Plant (Chinese: 葵涌焚化爐) was one of four incineration plants in Hong Kong. The plant was built on a 1.4 hectares (3.5 acres) of reclaimed land along Gin Drinkers Bay, Kwai Chung, near Pillar Island and the Rambler Channel. The plant was opened in 1978 to process solid waste from Hong Kong to reduce the need to put waste into landfills. In 1989, the Hong Kong Government issued a white paper, Pollution in Hong Kong – A Time to Act. After considering the effects of air pollution on the environment and public health, it was decided to cease using incineration to dispose of solid waste.

This decision was later suspended and, as of 2008, the Hong Kong Government is considering constructing new incinerators. In May 1997, the Kwai Chung Incineration Plant ceased to operate, the last of Hong Kong’s four plants to do so.


Although the plant ceased operation in 1997, it was not completely demolished. The site was found to be contaminated with dioxin, furan, asbestos, heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons. Special procedures were required during demolition. Demolition of the building and 150-metre-high (490 ft) chimney was initiated in 2007. The site cleanup preceded the demolition to clean up potential toxins and for future development of the site.

Tsuen Wan Chinese Permanent Cemetery
was set apart in 1935 for ‘Chinese who shall have been permanently resident in the said Colony {of Hong Kong).’ 1 “the care and management of the new cemetery were entrusted to a Board of Management, comprised mainly the leading Chinese members in the community. The location of the cemetery, finally authorized in 1941, was described as ‘a piece of land at T’sun Wan in the New Territories of Hong Kong known as Lot No.262 Demarcation District