Kat Hing Wai

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Western wall and entrance gate of Kat Hing Wai.
Historic plan of Kat Hing Wai walled village
Kat Hing Wai in the 1920s
Entrance gate of Kat Hing Wai.
Walls and watchtower in 2013.

Kat Hing Wai (Chinese: 吉慶圍) is a well known Punti walled village in the Yuen Long District of Hong Kong. It is often mistakenly believed to be Hakka, whose people have similar traditions.[citation needed] However the Punti people were from Southern China and the first to settle in Hong Kong. Kat Hing Wai's residents speak the Weitou dialect, a Yue dialect, rather than Hakka.[citation needed] Popularly known as Kam Tin, from the name of the area, the village is home to about 400 descendants of the Tang Clan, one of the "Five Great Clans" of the territory that built the village in the 17th century.[citation needed] Three other walled villages, Wing Lung Wai, Tai Hong Wai (泰康圍), and Kam Hing Wai (錦慶圍) are located nearby and were built around the same time.[1]

History[edit]

Kat Hing Wai was established during the reign of the Ming Chenghua Emperor (r. 1464–1487). The walls enclosing Kat Hing Wai were built by Tang Chue-yin (鄧珠彥) and Tang Chik-kin (鄧直見) in the early years of the Kangxi reign (1661–1722) of the Qing dynasty.[2]

In April 1899, the residents of Kam Tin rebelled against British Colonial rule. They defended themselves in Kat Hing Wai. After several unsuccessful attacks by British troops, the iron gates were blasted open. The gates were then shipped to London for exhibition. Following demands from the Tang Clan in 1924, the gate was eventually returned in 1925 by the 16th governor, Sir Reginald Stubbs.[3]

Features[edit]

Kat Hing Wai is a quasi-rectangular (100 by 90 metres (330 by 300 ft)) walled village. As a family stronghold, Kat Hing Wai has served the Tangs well through the centuries, protecting the residents against bandits, rival clans, and wild tigers. During the Qing dynasty, a five-metre high blue brick wall and four cannon towers were added to defend against bandits. Today, the village is still completely surrounded by 18-inch-thick walls,[citation needed] outside which are the remains of a moat. However, most houses within the walls have been rebuilt in recent years. There is only one narrow entrance, with a pair of iron gates that were once removed to Britain when the villagers rebelled against British colonial rule and of which only one was eventually returned. The current standing gates are a mismatched pair, the left hand side originally belongs to Tai Hong Wai and was given to Kat Hing Wai as a gift upon the gates return.

Conservation[edit]

Kat Hing Wai is a private property and the Government has not yet obtained the consent of its owners to declare it as a monument.[4]

Access[edit]

Route:      West Rail Line Kam Sheung Road Station or Kowloon Motor Bus bus routes 51, 54, 64K and 251M.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°26′23″N 114°03′50″E / 22.43971°N 114.064011°E / 22.43971; 114.064011