Open Days marking Victoria Prison decommissioning planned

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 March, 2006, 12:00am

Updated at 4.57pm:
To mark the decommissioning of Victoria Prison, the Correctional Services Department (CSD) and The Community Chest of Hong Kong will hold open days on March 18 and March 19.
The prison is more than 160 years old. The Victoria Prison Decommissioning Open Days will run from 10am to 5pm.

The $20 admission fee, which will be donated to the Community Chest can be paid at the entrance to the prison at 16 Old Bailey Street in Central.

A spokesman for the CSD said Victoria Prison, in use since 1841, was the first and oldest prison in the territory.

?It completed its historic mission on December 23, last year and is to make way for redevelopment by the government,? he said.

?A tour of the prison is not to be missed for its rich historic value. Guided tours will be provided for visitors, who will be able to walk around the historic building and cells.

?CSD staff volunteers dressed in old staff uniforms will provide a glimpse of the changes in attire over the years,? he added.

The former Prisons Department was re-named the CSD in 1982.

Items from the Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum, Correctional Services Department (CSD) and vehicles and Correctional Services Industries? products will be displayed.

There will also be a display of artifacts, such as a model for an execution chamber. Execution was the usual punishment for offences such as murder, kidnapping leading to death, and piracy until April 1993, when capital punishment was formally abolished.

In 1990, the Corporal Punishment Ordinance was repealed. Visitors will be able to see records of corporal punishment as ordered by judges from 1946 to 1977. A whip for administering corporal punishment, called the ?Cat-of-nine tails?, will also be displayed.

?Among the documents on display will be a night journal, which survived the war unscathed. An entry on the front side of one page is dated December 14, 1941; but the entry on the back is dated June 26, 1946 ? after the war. This represents a void of four-and-a-half years and the prison was re-commissioned in mid-1946,? the spokesman explained.

Other displays include handcuffs from the late 1970s, and photos of daily operations and prison staff.