Stanley Prison

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Stanley Prison
Aerial view of Stanley Prison
Location Stanley, Hong Kong
Coordinates 22°12′43″N 114°13′08″E / 22.21194°N 114.21889°E / 22.21194; 114.21889Coordinates: 22°12′43″N 114°13′08″E / 22.21194°N 114.21889°E / 22.21194; 114.21889
Capacity 1,714
Opened 1937
Managed by Hong Kong Correctional Services Department

Stanley Prison (赤柱監獄 c. January 1937, previously known as Hong Kong Prison at Stanley) is one of the six maximum security facilities in Hong Kong.[1] It is currently the oldest institution still in service (the oldest prison built in Hong Kong was Victoria Prison, which ceased operation on 24 December 2005[2]) and houses both male adult convicted prisoners male adult remand prisoners. It was set up by the then Prisons Department, and is now administered by the Correctional Services Department. The maximum capacity of the prison is 1,714 and has over 800 staff and officers. Stanley Prison, at the time of its construction, was considered to be one of the finest prisons in the British Empire. It was a modern structure built of stone, concrete and steel and consisted of six cell blocks set behind an 18-foot wall. It was originally designed to house 1,500 prisoners.

Hong Kong officially abolished capital punishment in 1990. Before that Stanley Prison had been a place of execution. One hundred twenty-two criminals were executed there between 1946 and 1966. Although the law did not change until 1993, the last execution that was carried out in Stanley Prison was in November 1966. (This figure (122) does not include the large number of prisoners who were killed by the Japanese there during the occupation of Hong Kong in World War Two—see below.) The area which once housed the gallows has now been replaced with the prison hospital.

Japanese occupation[edit]

Hong Kong fell to the invading Japanese on Christmas Day 1941 following a brief but brutal conflict. During the Japanese occupation, the grounds of the prison were used as part of Stanley Internment Camp. It was a place of torture and execution, with Mateen Ahmed Ansari, who was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his heroism in resisting the Japanese, as one of the most famous victims. During the Japanese invasion of China, refugees crawled across the border to Hong Kong and many became hawkers on the streets. Those who were caught were sent to Stanley Prison and soon the inmate population grew to over 3,000, well over its limits.

Nearly 600 prisoners of war and civilians, killed by the Japanese during the occupation, are buried in the nearby Stanley War Cemetery.[3]

Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum[edit]

Adjacent to Stanley Prison is the Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum.[4] The museum is housed in a two-storey building next to the parade ground of the Staff Training Institute of the Correctional Services Department in Stanley. It has an area of 480 square metres with a collection of some 600 artefacts.

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