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Tin Shui Wai New Town
Tinshuiwai 2005.jpg
Aerial view of Tin Shui Wai; Hong Kong Wetland Park on the left
Traditional Chinese 天水圍新市鎮
Simplified Chinese 天水围新市镇
Literal meaning Sky-Water-Walled city

Tin Shui Wai New Town is located in northwestern New Territories of Hong Kong. It is a part of the Yuen Long District, and is the second new town in Yuen Long. It is situated 25 kilometres due north-west of Central, Hong Kong on land reclaimed from low lying areas south of Deep Bay. As of 2007, the New Town has a population of 268,800.[1]

Contents

History

Hong Kong's largest new town, conceived in 1987 to house 140,000 people, was constructed on 2.4 square kilometres of reclaimed fishponds and wetland representing one quarter of the flat land in the New Territories.[2] Formation of the 2.4 km2 was estimated to cost HK$820 million in a contract signed with a Chinese joint-venture company. 20 million cubic metres of material would be required for the landfill. Maximum possible land formation was 4.88 km2.[3]

The Government was accused by the developers of stalling the release of land for political reasons. Tin Shui Wai Developments, a company 51% owned by China Resources and 49% by Cheung Kong Holdings, sued the Government for damages caused by delays in handing over 388,000 m² of land for development originally promised for 1985. The land was eventually handed over in May 1989[2]

People started occupying the new town as of 1991.[3] The Housing Association launched 6,459 Home Ownership Scheme flats in the area at steep discounts to an adjacent private estate, and attracted some 90,000 applications.[4]

Environment

Parts of Tin Shui Wai have a picturesque and tranquil environment. The Hong Kong Wetland Park, demonstrating the diversity of the Hong Kong's wetland ecosystem, is located in north Tin Shui Wai.

Tin Shui Wai consists of both public and private housing estates. Tin Wah Road separates the south and the north development zones of Tin Shui Wai. The south development zone first started in the late 1980s, and has since become a unique community. Since Tin Shui Wai was planned and developed from scratch, locals enjoy wider walkways and larger open areas when compared to other urban developments in Hong Kong.

Following the completion of the north development zone, the government planned to build 85,000 units and apartments annually in Hong Kong. As such, the north development zone has residential apartment buildings that are generally taller and denser than those in the south zone. The population of Tin Shui Wai rose rapidly over the last part of the century, but has since stabilised. The government has been criticised for maintaining insufficient level of services and facilities to meet the rapid population growth in Tin Shui Wai.

"City of Misery"

In recent years, the town acquired a rather dubious reputation in Hong Kong for being an area where numerous serious family and social issues, including domestic violence, mental illness, and suicide occurs. The collective suicide of 3 girls through coal burning took place, attracting extensive reports from the local media. The image of Tin Shui Wai is thus severely tainted in the minds of many Hong Kong citizens; family tension and domestic violence issues are not limited to Tin Shui Wai.[citation needed] According to some Social workers, Tin Shui Wai is prone to family tragedies because of its remote location, limited employment opportunities, and high density of public housing estates.[5] Some would also argue that the large number of new immigrants from Mainland China in the area, struggling to adjust to the different cultural and social dynamics of Hong Kong, also contributes to the problem.

A number of incidents and personal tragedies have occurred in the town. In 2003, a mainland woman, who had sought help from both social services and the police, and her twin daughters were stabbed to death by her husband who then fatally wounded himself.[6] In April 2004, a man killed himself after stabbing his 31-year-old mainland wife and two teenage daughters to death in their flat in Tin Shui Wai.[7] The accumulation of events caused the Director of Social Welfare, Mrs Carrie Lam, to label Tin Shui Wai "City of Misery" (悲情城市) in July 2006. Lam's comment was criticised because it did nothing to solve the social problem within the town[8]

In October 2007, Mak Fu-tai, a 36-year-old woman suffering from mental illness bound the hands and feet of her 12-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son, and threw them out of a window in their 24th floor flat at Yiu Fung House, and then jumped to her death. Mak's husband, also with a history of mental illness, was hospitalised with terminal cancer. The deaths spurred a review of the inadequate social services provision.[9] This spurred some 20 non-governmental organizations to plead with the Legislative Council's welfare panel for more resources to deal with the problems there.[5]

On November 25, 2007, numerous residents rallied outside government headquarters to push for more aid and reform for the area. Many demanded the government to create new hospitals, jobs, and increase police enforcement in the town.[10]

Housing

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Home Ownership Scheme estates

Private Housing Estate

  • Kingswood Villas (嘉湖山莊) – one of the largest private housing estates in Hong Kong[11]
    • Chestwood Court (翠湖居)
    • Kenswood Court (景湖居)
    • Maywood Court (美湖居)
    • Lynwood Court (麗湖居)
    • Sherwood Court (賞湖居)
    • Locwood Court (樂湖居)

Transport

MTR Tin Shui Wai Station is situated on the West Rail Line. It is located near Ping Shan and adjacent to Tin Yiu Estate, Tin Shing Court and Tin Yau Court. The station is elevated over the junction of Ping Ha Road and Tin Fuk Road. Several bus stops serve the station. Three footbridges are constructed along Tin Fuk Road and Ping Ha Road to connect the station to the highly populated urban area that the station is built in.

The district is also served by the Light Rail, Tin Shui Wai Station serving as the main interchange point for the local branch of this network, which runs in a circle around Tin Shui Wai proper. The light rail network, in conjunction with the West Rail Line, connects the townships of Tuen Mun and Yuen Long.

A well-developed bus network is also an important transport element in Tin Shui Wai, with buses running to most major destinations in Hong Kong.

Main roads connecting the township to surrounding areas are Ping Ha Road, Tin Ha Road, Long Tin Road, Yuen Long Highway and Tin Wah Road (to Lau Fau Shan).

See also

Notes and references

External links

Coordinates: 22°27′39″N 114°00′04″E / 22.4608°N 114.0012°E / 22.4608; 114.0012


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