Tung Chung was developed as a military stronghold, in order to drive out pirates in the area, around 1817 during the Qing dynasty with the construction of forts, guard-houses, and batteries around Rocky Lion Hill and Tung Chunh Hou.
Tung Chung Fort 東涌炮台 (Tung Chung Suocheng (Tung Chung Battalion City)) was the naval headquarters for the Right Battalion of Mirs Bay (Dapeng), and was built next to Sheung Ling Pei Village in 1832. It is unclear whether or not there was an earlier fort on the site. Work was completed uner the supervision of Captain He Junlong.
The fort is located on the northern coast of Lantau Island from where, along with the Chung Chung Battery 東涌小炮台, it could control the sea route between Lantau Island and the mainland, the main sea passage to Guangzhou.
The fort is built out of granite blocks, and three walls contain gateways (north, east and west (the fort is built in to a hill, and while there is a back (south) wall, there is no south gate), each with a granite block above it inscribed “Jie Xiu”, “Lian Geng” and “Gong Chen”, respectively.
On the northern rampart of the fort are six cannons, which, according to their Chinese inscriptions, date from 1805, 1809 and 1843. The cannon were moved to the fort in 1918 when it was used as a British Police Station, and hence were not part of the original defences. The fort was occupied by the Qing authorities until the New Territories were leased to the UK in 1898. The fort was first used by the British as a Police Station, and the between 1938-40 by Wah Ying College. During the second world war it was occupied by the Japanese (1941-45). Later it housed the Rural Committee Office, and was used as a primary school until 2003.
During the second world war Tung Chung was a string hold for resistance against the Japanese.
There is not a lot at the fort, in fact it is so small (70 m x 80 m), and set back from the road, that I first walked past it. It is free entry, and you can walk around the battlements where there are a lot of trip hazard. The fort also contains a small museum. The fort was resorted in 1988.
There were a surprising number of visitors at the fort. I think a lot of people had come out to Tung Chung to go out to the large gold Buddha and when they discovered that because the cable car was closed it would take nearly 2 hours to get there by bus (45 minute queue, one hour 15 minutes by bus) they decided to explore the area.
A view of the interior of the fort.
On the battlement there are a number of small guard-houses.
The walls are surprisingly think, and not very tall.
Walking up the top of the wall to the back (south) wall of the fort.
Below is a photograph of one of the six cannon on the wall.
The Chinese inscription on the cannon are rather worn.
The fort is small, but it has a fascinating history, and once you appreciate the how it fits in to the history and development of the area you start to see the place in a new light.
Foursquare: Tung Chung Fort