Remember A Day

A collapsed tunnel and secret illegal structures – Hong Kong remembers 40 years on

A journey back through time to look at some significant news and events reported by the South China Morning Post from this week in history

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 September, 2017, 1:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 September, 2017, 10:07pm

Four decades ago this week, stories gracing the front page of the South China Morning Post would have had a place in today’s editions, as concerns over bad air, questionable baby milk formula products, the perennial problem of land shortage and illegal building structures continue to blight our fair city. For those of you with a few grey hairs peppered on your crown, care for a quick stroll down memory lane?

September 11, 1977

Hongkongers debated if the city should return to a dual time system instead of being on Beijing time (GMT +8) all year round. Citizens pointed out that the government’s ill-judged experiment of keeping the city on a single time system had shortened their summer evenings and deprived them of opportunities for outdoor recreation at night.

It’s hard to believe that the tanning of hides, a notoriously smelly business, was allowed near residential areas back in the 70s. A report on this day said 30 tanners were about to set up shop on a site that’s within “sniffing distance” of a number of residential estates in the Kwai Chung area that housed some 100,000 people.

Of spies and club hostesses – Hong Kong headlines from three decades ago

September 12, 1977

The government earmarked millions of dollars over the next few years for emergency phone lines along major roads and in traffic tunnels. In all, 72 weatherproof telephones would be spaced out at intervals of about 183 metres along the 16km highway between Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun satellite towns. On a long-term basis, other major motorways, particularly elevated roads, would also be considered.

September 13, 1977

About 300,000 tins of Lactogen milk powder were given a clean bill of health after the government lifted a ban imposed following reports from Australia that the consignment could have been contaminated by bacteria. The milk powder was made by Nestlé.

About 100 people were evacuated from three Mong Kok buildings after a wall section of an MTR tunnel under Nathan Road collapsed. Engineers said the cavity underground left by the fallen wall posed a danger to buildings above.

September 14, 1977

The chairman of the Urban Council attacked a proposal to use a choice piece of land in Central for commercial, administration and judicial purposes as a “retrogressive carve-up”. Arnaldo de Oliveira Sales said the 41.5 acres of land occupied by Victoria Barracks should be turned into a park and green belt for public use.

Condom ads and Virgin inroads? Hong Kong remembers 30 years on

An Urban Council test found that about 10 per cent of peanut oil on sale in the city posed a potential cancer risk. Laboratory tests revealed that a number of peanut oil products, mostly imported from Southeast Asia, contained an aflatoxin content exceeding the safe limit.

September 15, 1977

Deng Xiaoping, then the vice-premier and the third most powerful person in the Chinese government, announced that he had no desire to become president, which effectively ended speculation at the time that he was poised to become head of the Chinese state.

Radio stations announced they would soon use pop record charts compiled by the International Federation of Producers of Phonograms and Videograms. Both RTHK and Commercial Radio were believed to have agreed, in principle, to adopt the proposed system.

September 16, 1977

A large flat was being built illegally on top of the Tsuen Wan District Office in a case which brought a whole new meaning to the phrase “right under their noses”. Even the town manager and district officer of Tsuen Wan, J.W. Hayes, was none the wiser to the illegal work taking place, until the apparently stealthy workers were putting the finishing touches to their clandestine structure.

Remember A Day looks at significant news and events reported by the SCMP from this week in history