If walls could talk ...

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 August, 2011, 12:00am


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Chungking Mansions opens at 36-44 Nathan Road, 17 storeys tall and consisting of five blocks packed with flats, guesthouses, restaurants and shops. On any given night an estimated 5,000 people stay there and 10,000 visit during the day.

1970s and 80s

The mansions acquire a reputation for cheap accommodation, fire safety problems and dodgy trade as the building deteriorates, becoming a favourite spot for hippies and illegal immigrants.

February 21, 1988

A Danish tourist tries to escape a fire with a rope made of bed sheets on the outside wall of the building, but plunges to his death.


An explosion in the power supply room causes a blackout, leaving residents without water and electricity for 10 days.


Director Wong Kar-wai shoots scenes for his movie Chungking Express there, helping the building gain iconic status in Hong Kong.

October 12, 1994

Governor Chris Patten visits, calling the mansions a 'unique part of Hong Kong and well worth the effort spent on improvement'.

February 17, 1995

An Indian woman is strangled by her Sri Lankan partner inside the mansions.

April 23, 1996

Some 200 police and immigration officers arrest 59 people from 14 countries for immigration violations and drug-related crimes.


The building undergoes significant renovations. CCTV cameras are installed (there are now 310) to help fight crime, and a zebra crossing is opened in front of the building to improve safety.


Time magazine calls Chungking Mansions 'the best example of globalisation in action' in its 'Best of Asia' issue.

July 18, 2011

A fire breaks out in a seventh-floor unit that has been divided into five rooms. Three people are injured.

November 11, 2011

Chungking Mansions will turn 50.