Isolation was a big issue for the refugees. To go to the outside world, they must hike the hills for three hours before reaching Lei Yu Men, the now famous seafood spot in HK, from where they could take a boat to Sai Wan Ho (西灣河) on the Hong Kong island.
There was no road inside and around the refugee camp area either. So the refugees organized themselves to construct a path crisscrossing the camp area. The men were in charge of the construction work while the women were responsible for cooking and delivering food and drink to the men.
Even the roads to the outside world were constructed by the refugees themselves. A former battalion commander of Kuomingtang named Xie Yuqun (謝雨群) volunteered to take charge and the refugees threw themselves into the construction tasks under Xie’s leadership. A road was built to shorten the journey time to Lei Yu Men to half an hour from 3 hours, from where the refugees could take ferry to the Hong Kong island.
This former commander was a legendary figure. He had constructed many roads for the residents of Tiu Keng Leng since, including the road leading to Cha Guo Ling (茶果嶺), and to Nau Tau Kwok (牛頭角). He had been doing this for 30 years until passing away. In the morning, he constructed roads and in the afternoon he helped others in the camp area to fix and construct houses.
In 1965, led by Xie Yuqun again, construction was underway to build a road connecting Tiu Keng Leng to Kowloon. When the road was opened in 1966, which is today’s Po Lam Road (寳林路), the government invited Xie for the opening ceremony.
History Stories: Tiu Keng Leng (part 1)
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