About the Book
The Central Police Station, the Central Magistrate Court, and the Victoria Prison, were built in the 19th Century. Together they formed a complete system for law enforcement. But as the facilities could not keep up with the growing population, new sites in Hong Kong were set up for better use of space. The buildings in the compound were declared heritage monuments in 1995. Right after the buildings were decommissioned in 2006, award-winning photographer Leong Ka Tai comprehensively photographed the compound. The site has now undergone extensive renovation and has been transformed into a cultural/commercial complex. The scenes depicted in his photographs cannot be found anymore. This book is a documentation of the compound in its original state.
In addition to exploring all the nooks and crannies of the buildings, he also interviewed the policemen, correctional officers, and even an inmate, who spent their years there, thus compiling a record of the collective memory of the compound, and presenting it as captions to the photographs.
This book is not about mere facts and dates, but the feeling of working, living, and being incarcerated there.
"These are not boring black-and-white photographs with no people in them but images that are subtly evocative of former denizens and their stories."
― May Holdsworth, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong