Ngau Tau Kok
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Ngau Tau Kok (Chinese: 牛頭角; Jyutping: ngau4 tau4 gok3) is an area of Kowloon East, located at the northern part of Kwun Tong District, next to Kowloon Bay. It covers Jordan Valley, Ngau Tau Kok and upper Kwun Tong town centre. The population of Ngau Tau Kok exceeds 210,000. It is one of the major residential areas in Kwun Tong District.
In Chinese, Ngau Tau Kok means ox horn or ox head cape: before the reclamation of Kowloon Bay, the coastline of Ngau Tau Kok was shaped like the horn of an ox. Ngau Tau Kok includes two hills - Jordan Valley (Shum Wan Shan) and Crocodile Hill (Ngok Yue Shan), where around half of the residential blocks are located.
Crocodile Hill is a relatively quiet residential area encircled by Kung Lok Road. This road is mainly lined with residential blocks and is home to two parks, the similarly-named Kung Lok Road Playground and the Kung Lok Road Children's Playground (about 100 metres apart). The former comprises a cycling area and is linked to the Lok Wah Playground. The latter houses a garden and a children's playground. The two parks were completed by the Urban Council in 1988.
Kung Lok Street is also home to the Mu Kuang English School, founded by Elsie Elliot. Hong Lee Road travels up to the summit of the hill, terminating in a dead end at the St Catharine's School for Girls, founded in 1968.
Ngau Tau Kok is a residential area close to the town centre of Kwun Tong District. The area around Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate is known for its street food, including congee, noodles and other traditional Cantonese cuisine. In summer, Ngau Tau Kok hosts many religious ceremonies to cerebrate the Yu-lan festival, a festival from Chinese ghost tales.
In 2021 the East Kowloon Cultural Centre is expected to open on part of the site of the former Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate.
Ngau Tau Kok has a long history of Hakka inhabitants. In the early colonial days of Hong Kong, it was one of the four hills of Kowloon (九龍四山) in eastern Kowloon where granite was extracted. The granite from Ngau Tau Kok was transported to Victoria City on Hong Kong Island across Victoria Harbour. Some stone was even exported to Canton City for the construction of its Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Before being a residential area, Ngau Tau Kok was an industrial area. Amoy Food sited a factory in Ngau Tau Kok to manufacture soy sauce. A high-density private housing estate, Amoy Gardens was constructed on the factory site.
A reservoir in Jordan Valley formerly provided fresh water to Ngau Tau Kok but is now disused and used as a landfill area. An artillery battery was also located in Jordon Valley but it was removed to make way for the urban development project.
During the spring of 2003, Ngau Tau Kok was severely impacted by the SARS outbreak. A concentration of cases of the deadly disease occurred in Amoy Gardens (淘大花園), mainly in its Block E. The drainage design (which was widely used across Hong Kong) was later criticised and amended.
Town gas explosion
On 11 April 2006, a fatal underground explosion occurred in Ngau Tau Kok Road and Jordan Valley North Road: two people died and eight were injured. Wai King Building (偉景樓) was seriously damaged by the blast which was caused by leakage of town gas from underground pipes belonging to Hong Kong and China Gas, a major local utility.
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Major roads in Ngau Tau Kok include:
- "Proposed Creation of Posts for Kung Lok Road Playground Kwun Tong District". Urban Council. 1 February 1988.
- Cheung, Chi-fai (2 August 2014). "Gas explosion like in Taiwan unlikely here, Hong Kong experts say". South China Morning Post.