Frontier Closed Area

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Coordinates: 22°32′N 114°06′E / 22.53°N 114.1°E / 22.53; 114.1

Frontier Closed Area signboard at Lo Wu

The Frontier Closed Area (Chinese: 邊境禁區; Cantonese Yale: bīngíng gamkēui), established by the Frontier Closed Area Order, 1951,[1] is a border zone area in Hong Kong extended inwards from the border with China. For anyone to enter the area, a Closed Area Permit is required.

Established to prevent migrants from China and other illegal activities, the closed area is fenced along its perimeter to serve as a buffer between the closed border and the rest of the territory. Developments are tightly controlled within the area, which has become a natural habitat for animals and plants.

History[edit]

The area was established under the Frontier Closed Area Order, 1951.

In order to fight gun smuggling during the Korean War, a curfew was put in place in the closed area in 1952. Villagers had to stay inside from midnight to 4:00 am unless they acquired a special permit from the police.[2] Following the war, the curfew was retained to help control illegal immigration.[3]

A simple chain link wire fence was built at the border between 1950 and 1953.[4] It was later described as "flimsy" in the South China Morning Post, in that groups of refugees could press it flat simply by leaning against it.[5]

The boundaries of the Frontier Closed Area were adjusted under the Frontier Closed Area Order, 1959, gazetted on 20 February 1959.[6]

By 1962, thousands of illegal refugees were attempting to enter Hong Kong each day. In response, a second, more robust fence, made of Dannert wire, was built slightly south of the original fence in May 1962.[4][5]

Under the Frontier Closed Area (Amendment) Order 1982, gazetted on 24 June 1982, the area was expanded by four square kilometres in western Mai Po, near Pak Hok Chau.[7]

The frontier area was further adjusted with the Frontier Closed Area Order 1984, gazetted on 7 September 1984. The amendments reflected the relocation of the Man Kam To Control Point, and also completely excluded Lei Uk Village from the closed area.[8]

Border patrol duties were transferred from the British Army to the Field Patrol Detachment in October 1992.[9]

The nighttime curfew in the Frontier Closed Area was discontinued from 1 August 1994. Secretary for Security Alistair Asprey stated this was to "balance individual rights and the need to combat illegal immigration".[3][2]

Closed Area Permit[edit]

A Closed Area Permit is a document issued by the Hong Kong Police Force to allow for people with ties or residents in the area to travel in and out of the Frontier Closed Area. Visitors to the Mai Po Marshes are also required to apply for a Mai Po Marshes Entry Permit from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

2006 reduction proposal[edit]

Reduction of the FCA from 28 square kilometres (11 sq mi) (its size at the time) to 8 square kilometres (3.1 sq mi) was proposed in September 2006 by the government. According to the adopted proposal, most of the FCA will be de-designated and the FCA only maintained around border crossings.

This will be made possible by the building of a secondary fence along the border roads, such that most villages in the FCA will fall outside of it without having to compromise the integrity of the border. A planning study was to have been undertaken by the Planning Department.

Depending upon the progress of the new fence, the reduction will be implemented in four stages with scheduled completion in early 2015. Members of the public will no longer need to obtain a permit to enter the excluded areas.

First phase of implementation[edit]

On 15 February 2012, areas around Sha Tau Kok (but not the town itself), as well as Mai Po, were taken out of the Frontier Closed Area, opening up 740 hectares (1,800 acres) of land for public access.[10] A checkpoint on the original perimeter, at Shek Chung Au, was decommissioned and its functions taken over by a new checkpoint outside of Sha Tau Kok.

Environmental Issues[edit]

Environmentalists and the WWF[11] have pointed out that the proposal will have negative impacts on the ecology of the excluded areas.[12][13][14]

Areas lying in Frontier Closed Area[edit]

  • 1. Lok Ma Chau District (includes Lok Ma Chau Checkpoint, Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Checkpoint, parts of Lok Ma Chau compensation wetland, parts of Mai Po Natural Reserves and parts of Pak Hok Chau)
  • 2. Ta Kwu Leng District(includes Lo Wu Checkpoint, small parts of Lo Wu Village, estuaries of Ng Tung River, Yuen Leng Tsai, Man Kam To Checkpoint and estuaries of Nam Hang River)
  • 3. Sha Tau Kok District (includes Sha Tau Kok Town, Sha Tau Kok Checkpoint, parts of Shan Tusi, Yuen Tun Shan, Kong Ha Village, San Kwai Tin Village, Pak Kung Au and parts of Mo Lo Lau)
  • 4. Chung Ying Street District
  • 5. Whole Starling Inlet


  • Notes 1:Lin Ma Hang village had been released from the frontier closed area since 2016.However,The only road connecting the village and Ta Kwu Ling remained as a part of the closed area.Anyone aims to enter Lin Ma Hang must apply a closed area permit unless accessing there by mountain paths.A police post is set 1300 meters away from the entry of the village in order to prohibit illegal entry of the closed area.
  • Notes 2:Lo Wu Village was released from closed area since 2016.However,The only road connecting the village and Man Kam To main road remained as a part of the closed area.Large number of village house lie adjacent to the border fence.Anyone intends to enter the village must apply a closed area permit so that they can enter the village by using the road or railway.

Border Road[edit]

Border Road is enclosed by fences
Liantang, Shenzhen as viewed from Ta Kwu Ling with Border Road and fences in the foreground

Border Road (Chinese: 邊界道路) is a road along the south bank of Sham Chun River, and the northernmost road in Hong Kong. Since January 2016, it is amongst the only remaining places within the Frontier Closed Area (along with an area around and within parts of Sha Tau Kok). Currently it is used for patrolling purposes only and public entry is forbidden. It starts from Mai Po Nature Reserve in Yuen Long and ends along Lin Ma Hang Road.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.legco.gov.hk/1951/h510627.pdf
  2. ^ a b Griffin, Kathy (8 July 1994). "Curfew set to go despite rise in IIs". South China Morning Post. p. 7.
  3. ^ a b "Villagers free of 40-year curfew". South China Morning Post. 24 June 1994. p. 7.
  4. ^ a b "H.K.-China Frontier 'Most Peaceful In World'". South China Morning Post. 8 November 1965. p. 6.
  5. ^ a b "BORDER BARRICADE STRENGTHENED: Deterrent Against Unabated Flow Of Refugees". South China Morning Post. 18 May 1962. p. 1.
  6. ^ "Frontier Closed Area Order". South China Morning Post. 21 February 1959. p. 9.
  7. ^ "Frontier area extended". South China Morning Post. 25 June 1982. p. 6.
  8. ^ "Frontier line adjusted". South China Morning Post. 8 September 1984. p. 14.
  9. ^ Bishop, Karin (11 November 1994). "Beware the bushes – they may arrest you". South China Morning Post. p. 1.
  10. ^ 邊境禁區範圍縮減首階段生效
  11. ^ The Apple Daily. 2013. WWF憂蠔殼圍禁區開放後生態受影響
  12. ^ Government proposes to reduce Frontier Closed Area. Retrieved on July 28, 2017
  13. ^ LEGCO Review of the Frontier Closed Area - Result of Public Consultation
  14. ^ 關注香港邊境禁區以及河套大學城的發展. Retrieved on July 28, 2017
  15. ^ http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr07-08/chinese/panels/plw/papers/dev0527cb1-1602-3-c.pdf
Further reading

External links[edit]