Diamond Hill (Chinese: 鑽石山; pinyin: Zuànshí shān; Cantonese Yale: Jyunsehk Sāan) is a hill in the east of Kowloon, Hong Kong. The name also refers to the area on or adjacent to the hill. It is surrounded by Ngau Chi Wan, San Po Kong, Wong Tai Sin and Tsz Wan Shan. Its northeast is limited by the ridge. It is principally a residential district.
There were squatter dwellings (shanties) up and down the hill that were demolished after years of effort by the Hong Kong Government. The squatter population peaked at around 50,000 people. Parts of the squatter settlement were demolished over the years, including for expansion of the Kai Tak Airport during the Japanese occupation, construction of the Mass Transit Railway, Lung Cheung Road, and the Tate's Cairn Tunnel. Due to the dramatic shortage of public housing available for resettlement, the final sections were only demolished in 2001.
Contrary to its name, the area does not contain any diamond deposits. There are a number of theories as to why the misnomer came about, but the most accepted version states that the English name for this area was a simple mistranslation, for in Cantonese, the word "鑽石" can mean either "diamonds" or "to drill for rocks". In this case, the area was known as a stone quarry for many years before urban development took place. Due to that, the English name only became a euphemism. There are other theories as to why the area became known as "Diamond Hill", such as the crystals contained within the rocks mined from the area have a diamond-like luminance, or that the hill resembles the shape of a diamond.
In 1976, the Government released a zoning plan for 265 hectares, in which they projected to house some 219,000 in subsidised public housing by 1996. In 1984 plans for Home Ownership Scheme flats to house 15,600 people and Public Housing for a further 24,500 for the area were unveiled on a site of 81 hectares. At the time of the announcement, the squatter population was estimated at 35,000.
Galaxia (星河明居) is a private housing estate located at 3, Lung Poon Street, near the Diamond Hill Station. Galaxia comprises 5 blocks (A-E). There are 46 floors in Block A and E and 47 floors in Block B, C and D, making a total of 1,684 units. Galaxia is connected to the Plaza Hollywood shopping centre. It was constructed in 1998, developed by Wheelock Properties (Hong Kong) Limited, The Wharf (Holdings) Limited, New Asia Realty And Trust Company, Limited and Harriman Realty. In 2008, ISS Eastpoint took the place of Harriman Realty in the Galaxia consortium.
Diamond Hill Urn Cemetery is high in the hill. Diamond Hill MTR Station is located near Plaza Hollywood, a nearby shopping centre was so named to associate it with the former movie studio nearby, where many films were produced after World War II. It most notably launched the career of international star, Bruce Lee. Sam Hui and brothers lived around the area, too. Tate's Cairn Tunnel has its Kowloon entrance in Diamond Hill.
In popular culture
- Diamond Hill - Memories of growing up in a Hong Kong squatter village, written by Feng Chi-sun and published by Blacksmith Books in November, 2009, presents the early days of a life shaped by a now-extinct community.
- Many location shots were taken within the squatter settlement, which came to visually represent poverty in Hong Kong films.
- Diamond Hill was the setting for the films Diamond Hill (發光的石頭) by the director Cheang Pou-soi, and Hollywood Hong Kong (香港有個荷里活) by director Fruit Chan.
- In the film A Better Tomorrow II, Ken Gor is referred to as "The King of Diamond Hill" before turning his back on a life of crime.
- Wong, David (1978-07-03). "A look at life in the Mid-Level shanties" (PDF). Hong Kong Standard. Retrieved 2007-03-20.
- "New zoning plan for development" (PDF). South China Morning Post. 1976-05-20. Retrieved 2007-03-20.
- Leung, Matthew (1984-11-16). "Barren area will house over 40,000" (PDF). South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2007-03-20.
- Plaza Hollywood at Emporis
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