A prominent World War Two battle site in Wong Nai Chung Gap has been damaged with French-language graffiti and strewn with rubbish, including cigarette butts and beer cans.

Photo: Philip Cracknell.

Philip Cracknell, who conducts regular guided tours of Hong Kong battle sites, told HKFP that he first discovered the graffiti and rubbish at the West Brigade headquarters around ten days ago.

“When I went back to the site on Saturday morning, I found that the amount of graffiti had increased significantly,” he said.

Photo: Philip Cracknell.

The former West Brigade headquarters was the site of a fierce battle on December 19, 1941 between Canadian forces and the invading Japanese, a day after the latter landed on Hong Kong Island.

The battle was led by Brigadier John Lawson, who was killed in action at the site. He was the highest-ranking Canadian soldier to die in World War Two.

Photo: Philip Cracknell.

Photographs of the site taken on Saturday show a number of French-language phrases, penis drawings and other drawings graffitied onto the walls. Cracknell said that the vandalism amounted to “criminal damage.”

Teenage hang-out

Cracknell also said that he has seen teenagers gather at the site on several recent occasions – as recently as Monday morning – but did not witness them spray-paint any graffiti.

Photo: Philip Cracknell.

“All I’ve seen are kids going up and hanging out there,” he said. “There are lots of cigarette butts in the area… beer cans and food wrapping.”

He added that the Antiquities and Monuments Office previously made an effort to clear the site of vegetation and litter.

Photo: Philip Cracknell.

However, he believed that the new graffiti would be difficult to remove, as it has not only been spray-painted on to the walls, but also on to steel doors.

“The war site is being trashed,” he said. “The vandalism… may not be able to be completely restituted.”

Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.