The white and blue edged blocks of Lok Yuk Kindergarten, proud in the centre of town, embody much of Sai Kung’s history. They have been the Japanese Kempeitai headquarters, a battleground of the Red River Guerrillas, scene of the handover to the British after the war, a police station, seminary and church.
An Antiquities Advisory Board report summarises the buildings’ role in Sai Kung:
The two-storey brick blocks flanked by what look like watchtowers were constructed in about 1940. They were built as a residence by a merchant called Li Shui Sang. He died in 1946 and ownership passed to his “kit-fat” (lawful wife) and his two “tsip” (concubines).
Access to Sai Kung was difficult more than seventy years ago. After the fall of Hong Kong the Japanese didn’t occupy Sai Kung until 1943. The buildings became their headquarters and interrogation centre, during a time the AAB describes as “a reign of terror”. After the end of the war the East River Guerrillas tried to force the Japanese out. A gun battle ensued. In darkness the Japanese sailed on a junk to Kowloon.
The East River Guerrillas took over Sai Kung managing the area until the handover to the British at the Li Shui Sang buildings in late 1945.Then they housed a police station for four years. In 1950 the police moved and four years later Tsung Tsin Mission bought the property for use as the Lok Yuk Theological Seminary. They set up a church, which is still there.
When the seminary became part of the Chung Chi mission at the Chinese University in 1967, a kindergarten took over the premises. The AAB’s report says the buildings are largely original and authentic.