- The cargo dock in Sai Wan was a popular place for photos because of its views of Victoria Harbour and scenic sunsets
- While the city’s Marine Department officially closed it because of the coronavirus, some say the real reason was visitor misconduct
The Kennedy Town cargo dock, better known as “Instagram Pier”, was closed by the government yesterday supposedly due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The freight dock is officially called the Western District Public Cargo Working Area, but was given the nickname because it is a popular place to take photos for social media. (There’s even an Instagram account, @insta_pier, that has been collecting images of the pier since 2016.)
For several years, residents of surrounding areas used the space to exercise and walk their pets. But more recently, it became an attraction for locals and tourists alike, after local influencers recommended it as a good place to take photos of Victoria Harbour and sunsets.
The social distancing restrictions that saw restaurants close at 6pm saw more people spending time outdoors. Many have been holding picnics, skateboarding, flying drones, and doing other leisure activities on the pier.
A post on the local forum LIHKG says the pier’s closure is due to visitor behaviour, and that the shutdown was “expected”. People were often seen climbing onto cargo containers to take pictures, leaving behind rubbish, and even setting fires.
Sam Yip Kam-lung, district councillor of the Shek Tong Tsui Constituency, said on his blog that Hong Kong’s Marine Department closed the pier because of “pandemic concerns”, but added that he had not been informed of the decision, nor was he consulted for his views on the matter.
Yiu added that he had requested the closure be suspended, but his request was rejected by Hong Kong’s Marine Department and Home Affairs Department.
As of today, visitors have to show proof that they work on the pier to gain access to the area.
Janice Mook, 16, from Diocesan Girls' School, says she understands the public health reasons why the pier was closed, saying there had recently been a surge in the number of visitors, including joggers who may not wear their face masks.
"It's a hit for people who have plans to go there, but they can reschedule," she said. "People take their masks off when they have picnics, and their behaviour could transmit the virus or put them at risk of being infected."
She also believes visitor misconduct may indeed be a reason for the closure, saying people might go to restricted spots to take the perfect pic, or even hurt themselves in the process.
Tiffany Fu, 15, from Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary School, also supports the decision to close the pier for safety reasons.
“Instagram Pier is, in fact, a public cargo working area, and generally such areas pose safety concerns due to a lack of measures that could prevent accidents from happening,” she said.