Haunted buildings in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2007, 12:00am

Wan Tau Tong Estate in Tai Po

Behind the chilling name (Wan Tau means 'transporting heads' in Chinese) of the estate is a frightening story of human remains.

Located near Tai Po Market KCR station, the estate is rumoured to have been a burial ground for those who perished in natural disasters early last century.

A series of calamities struck Hong Kong at the turn of the 20th century, including the 1906 storm which left more than 10,000 people dead.

To prevent the spread of malaria, flesh and skin were burned away from the corpses, leaving only the bones which were put into urns to be transported to the burial ground in Tai Po.

Spine-tingling stories have circulated among the residents ever since three housing blocks were erected on the site in 1993. Residents reported seeing a headless human pushing a wheelbarrow filled with skulls at night.

Ghost stories also circulated among construction workers. They always complained about the disappearance of the white glue they used for wallpaper pasting.

One night, a construction worker returned to his workplace after dinner and overheard a macabre conversation and peered in.

Slathering their bodies in glue, the 'people' said to each other, 'Hooray! We don't have to worry about loose heads and limbs again'.

Wah Fu Estate in Southern District

Built in 1967, Wah Fu Estate has the dubious honour of being one of the most haunted public housing estates in Hong Kong.

It has one of the highest suicide rates among the residential estates in the city, with many people going there especially to take their lives.

Legend has it that the site was used for burying dead soldiers and civilians during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.

Many of those buried there died a premature and grisly death.

When the estate was first completed, residents often told of frightening encounters with ghosts in lifts and corridors at night.

Another story is chilling enough to put mahjong buffs off their favourite pastime.

One night, a resident played mahjong with her neighbours. As the four shuffled tiles on the table, a hand suddenly appeared out of nowhere, sending the shocked residents screaming and scurrying home.

The Haunted Garley Building in Kowloon

Formerly located at the intersection of Nathan and Gordon Roads, the commercial building was ravaged by a gruesome fire in 1996. The fire raged for 21 hours before it was finally put out, leaving 41 dead and 80 injured.

At the time of the fire, there were renovations going on in the building. The fire alarms had been muffled to stop them being triggered by welding work. Nobody was aware of the fire when it broke out.

As the fire engulfed the building, people jumped from windows to the ground. Harrowing scenes of people trapped at the windows were shown on TV and in newspapers. More than 20 charred bodies were found after the fire was extinguished.

The gutted building haunted the neighbourhood for years before it was finally demolished to make way for a shopping mall in 2003. Stories spread that the emergency services were still getting calls reporting a fire in the building.

Despite the cheap rents, JD Mall, the shopping arcade now occupying the site, has difficulty attracting customers and tenants.

Tung Shing Cinema

Rumoured to have once been a funeral parlour, the now-defunct Tung Shing cinema in Wan Chai was one of the most haunted cinemas in Hong Kong.

Legend has it that the cinema bathrooms were located where the parlour's mortuary stood.

Movie-goers told stories of a faceless, long-haired ghost inside the female toilets.

Mumbling to herself in front of the mirror, the ghost kept combing her hair when movies were played outside.

The ticket counter was also frequented by movie-loving supernatural beings.

Staff said the theatre was always full at night. However, only a few tickets were ever sold.

Who the viewers without tickets inside the dark cinema were is anybody's guess.

Haunted holiday villas in Cheung Chau

Because of a series of suicides, Bela Vista Villa in Cheung Chau has been transformed from a cosy holiday resort into a frightening haunt favoured by the suicidal.

The fortunes of the once-popular resort took a turn for the worse in 1989. A divorced middle-aged woman killed her son before hanging herself in one of the rooms. Dressed in traditional red Chinese clothes and embroidered red shoes, the mother killed her son with a knife before taking her own life.

Holidaymakers have often reported seeing a red-clad female ghost on the beach at night.

After the gruesome incident, more and more cases of suicides have occurred at the spooky resort.

The wave of copycat suicides was so great over the past few years that an anti-suicide squad was set up by the villa owners. They would patrol the area looking for signs of suicidal tendencies or suspicious behaviour.