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Shing Mun Redoubt シンムン歴史

September 9, 2008

Before the summer holidays, I finally managed to head out to Shing Mun.  It’s home to one of Hong Kong’s water reservoirs as well as dozens of wild rhesus monkeys and wildlife of other sorts.

The British introduced the monkeys in the early 1930s; around the time construction of the reservoir began.  There are now so many of them that the locals know the area as ‘Monkey Mountain’.

There is another side of the area’s history that I was interested in seeing though (well, I wanted to see the monkeys too); the remnants of fortifications built to defend against the Japanese during the Second World War.

A massive string of tunnels and pillboxes was built to defend the reservoir.  The tunnels were named after main streets in London.  Not merely a way of staving off homesickness in the Londoners of the 1st Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, the naming had a strategic link; the names of the tunnels follow the same pattern as in London allowing the British to navigate them quickly.

The complex was built in 1938 but in 1941 it fell within 4 days of heavy fighting against the Japanese 228th Regiment. You can walk through many of the tunnels still though make sure you bring shoes you don’t mind getting dirty and a flashlight since the insides of the tunnels are pitch black after about 15 feet.

At one end of the Shaftesbury tunnel is an interesting bit of graffiti.  It reads: wakabayashi tai senryou (若林隊占領). Basically, ‘captured by Wakabayashi’s unit’.

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