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The history of Kai Tak River

The name “Kai Tak” was originated from the Kai Tak Bund development in the Kowloon City District in the early 20th century. Kai Tak River was continually modified to suit the development needs in the vicinity. After a century of transition, Kai Tak River has been geographically and also physically bonded with the neighboring districts and the Kowloon Peninsula. It has witnessed the development and changes of Hong Kong.

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Timeline of Kai Tak Nullah Development

  • In Early Stage, Rivers flew from the region of Diamond Hill via Nga Tsin Wai Village to Kowloon Bay. One of these rivers was later called Lung Tsun River.
  • 1843: Qing government planned to construct Kowloon Walled City.
  • 1847: Construction of Kowloon Walled City completed. A Lung Tsun Bridge was built for the entry and exit of officials.
  • 1898: Qing government leased the New Territories to Britain. By the agreement, the Qing government reserved the jurisdiction of Kowloon Walled City and Lung Tsun Bridge.
  • 1899: The British forces expelled Qing officials and took over the Walled City.
  • 1916: Ho Kai, Au Tak and Tso Seen Wan etc. jointly formed the “Kai Tak Investment Company" to reclaim the land around Lung Tsun Bridge outside Kowloon Walled City in response to the demand for housing brought about by the growing population.
  • 1920: The project Kai Tak Bund stopped after the completion of the first stage. An open channel was constructed for drainage during the project. It can be said that this channel was the earliest Kai Tak Nullah. With the later liquidation of the “Kai Tak Investment Company”, the whole Kai Tak Bund project was terminated.
  • 1926: Prince Road (Prince Edward Road) built.
  • 1927: RAF Kai Tak established.
  • 1927 December: The Hong Kong Government reached an agreement with the “Kai Tak Investment Company” to acquire the land with HKD 1,007,250.
  • 1929: RAF Kai Tak took shape. Between its aerodrome and Kai Tak Bund was the early Kai Tak Nullah.
  • 1936: The Western part of Kai Tak Aerodrome became civilian airport. Terminal and administrative building constructed.
  • 1939: First standard runway of 457 m long completed.
  • 1941: Japanese bombers, under the cover of fighters, bombarded Kai Tak Airport. Hong Kong felt in the same year and the Japanese took over Kai Tak Airport.
  • 1942: since the occupation of Hong Kong, the Japanese began the repair work of Kai Tak Airport and the clearing of the drain (Kai Tak Nullah).
  • 1942: Japanese colonial government expanded Kai Tak Airport. Buildings of “Kai Tak Bund” project and stone wall of Kowloon Walled City demolished. Sacred Hill of Sung Wong Toi and nearby villages shattered. Along the boundary of the airport was dug to connect to the old channel of Kai Tai Bund, which was the later Kai Tak Nullah.
  • 1943: Expansion of Kai Tak Airport completed.
  • 1950: The Government reclaimed the land northwest of Clear Water Bay Road (today’s Choi Hung Road) to extend the 13/31 runway. Expansion project included the cement coverage over the part of Kai Tak Nullah in that area for the runway to run through.
  • 1953: The Government published the Project Report on the Development of Kai Tak Airport to restructure Kai Tak Airport into a new airport. Outlet of the Kai Tak Nullah was changed from Kowloon Bay at the north end of To Kwa Wan Road to today’s Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter via the east to Kai Tak Airport. Outlet at the north end of To Kwa Wan Road was indirectly concealed by the land reclamation for the runway of Kai Tak Airport.
  • 1954: The Government allocated funds to expand the Kai Tak Airport and to improve the sewage facilities in the Kai Tak Nullah and the surrounding areas.
  • 1959: Tung Tau Estate, which is adjacent to the Kai Tak Nullah, was completed.
  • 1960-1962: The Drainage Services Department carried out the Kai Tak Nullah improvement works in the Tung Tau Estate and the nearby area.
  • 1960-70s: Hong Kong's industry flourished, and San Po Kong was one of the important industrial areas. The sewage discharged from the factory flows directly into the Kai Tak Nullah, causing serious pollution problem.
  • 1980s: Factories in San Po Kong’s industrial area decreased due to the northward movement of the manufacturing industries in 1980s. The Government began to improve the water quality of nullahs in Hong Kong, which included the Kai Tak Nullah.
  • 1990s: The Government launched the " Tolo Harbour Effluent Export Scheme " to discharge the sewage from Sha Tin and Tai Po to the Kai Tak Nullah after secondary treatment to improve the water quality of the Nullah.
  • 2000s: The Government plans to redevelop, improve and rehabilitate the Kai Tak Nullah and launch a public engagement programme for "Building our Kai Tak River".
  • 2011: The improvement works of the Kai Tak River was launched. Stones of the original Kai Tak Nullah were marked, dismantled and sent to China Road and Bridge Engineering Co., Ltd. (CRBC)’s warehouse in Mong Hau Shek, Tuen Mun.
  • 2018: The improvement works of the Kai Tak River was completed.