From our archivesi

How the South China Morning Post covered occasions, news, happenings and events big and small since its founding in 1903


  • Hundreds of drivers using the tunnel under Victoria Harbour, and their passengers, fled to safety when a Kowloon-bound Toyota caught fire
  • A government minister said following an inquiry that tunnel staff had not met the target response time for such an incident and didn’t follow procedure

In Hong Kong’s 1999 Hello Kitty murder, a 23-year-old woman was held captive and tortured for weeks then murdered in a flat in Tsim Sha Tsui. Three men were later convicted and handed life sentences.

A gang used guns and grenades in a deadly robbery at a mahjong parlour in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, in 1992, stealing HK$2 million. Three men were later arrested in China, but the leader was never caught.


Jet Li’s manager Choi Chi-ming was gunned down in 1992, near his office in Hong Kong, in what police suspected was a contract killing. Choi was believed to have links to the 14K criminal gang.

A spillage of chemicals in a lab at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 1995 led to the death of a postgraduate student who was apparently exposed to the resulting toxic fumes for too long.

After a Hong Kong tram derailed, struck another tram and overturned on April 13, 1964, sailors from a nearby club helped pull the injured from the wreckage. The driver was jailed for dangerous driving causing death.

When movie the Sound of Music, starring Julie Andrews, premiered in Hong Kong, it was so popular a Sound of Music singing competition for schools was launched, with 47 competing to win a grand piano.

In 1985, a three-year-old ferry capsized near Jiangmen in Guangdong, southern China, with 227 passengers and crew on board. Dozens drowned, and survivors from Hong Kong said they were ‘lucky to be alive’.

When an exhibition of 60 Picasso paintings and sculptures opened at Hong Kong’s Heritage Museum, it was ‘the most compre­hensive showcase’ of his work ever seen in the city, and the biggest in China in 30 years.

When Hong Kong first sent models and garment makers to Paris to put on a ready-to-wear fashion show, French manufacturers were dismayed and tried to halt it. The prêt-à-porter show was a big success.

A home-made bomb exploded in Tsim Sha Tsui’s Ocean Terminal in 1981, injuring 23 people, five seriously, in what was described as the worst such incident since the 1967 riots.

Hong Kong police found a dismembered body packed in salt in an apartment in 1999. The victim’s common-law partner was arrested, convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Forty sumo wrestlers, in Hong Kong for the city’s first competition in 1993, enjoyed dim sum for breakfast before a stroll in Kowloon, and lunch at the Shangri-La with 100 star-struck Japan Airlines cabin crew.

When a teacher missed a meeting on Lantau Island, his friends contacted police, who showed a ‘lack of concern’; his decomposing body was found 10 weeks later.

Chan Kang-nan’s death was assumed to be political – after all, he was a prominent anti-communist and opponent of Taiwanese independence. The truth was more prosaic.

The Catholic bishop of Canton, Monsignor Dominic Tang, offered a message of peace at his first Christmas mass in Hong Kong since being freed from imprisonment as a counter-revolutionary in Mao’s China.

A fire in a bed-space apartment just before Christmas claimed seven lives and left 50 more injured. Fire officers found corridors and staircases blocked with rubbish and shopping trolleys.

The rocket, a Long March II, was the pride of China’s space programme, and was brought to Hong Kong for a trade expo. It cost HK$5 million to transport, and went on show in Victoria Park.

The Jockey Club oversaw Hong Kong’s first auction of thoroughbred racehorses in 1995. After the sale, there were complaints that four horses had gone unsold at auction previously in Australia.

The topless photo Hong Kong’s Eastweek magazine published in 2002 had been taken 12 years earlier. Eastweek’s former editor received a suspended jail term over its publication.

Two representatives of the Christian denomination were jailed for seven and five years respectively in 1960 for espionage and counter-revolutionary activities.

In October 1959, the Vienna Philharmonic gave a concert in Hong Kong as part of a world tour. The next day the Post’s critic wrote: ‘I don’t know when, if ever, we shall again have these privileges made available to us.’

When people started dying from drinking adulterated Chinese wine in Hong Kong in 1975, the authorities cracked down on wine shops, and arrested two men who were convicted of three deaths and sent to prison.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa received a letter soon after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 containing a threat that he would be poisoned. A former prison officer and auxiliary policeman was charged with mailing it.

When a transport plane crashed into Victoria Harbour after take-off from Hong Kong’s then Kai Tak Airport in 1994, rescuers fought in vain to save the lives of six of the Indonesian crew – the only people on board.

Two 31-storey buildings were demolished after their foundations were deemed unsafe because of insufficient piling, resulting in prison sentences for two directors and an engineer involved in the scam.

The explosion in 1992 at China Light and Power’s Castle Peak power station caused extensive damage and injured 21 workers, two of whom died of their injuries. Their widows fought for improved compensation.

A brutal knife attack by two unknown men left outspoken radio host Albert Cheng with deep wounds on his back, arms and right leg and needing six hours of surgery.