1970’s Hong Kong
Hong Kong's population was estimated to
be 4 million in 1971
This was an increase of 1 million from
The Metric System became the standard in
Hong Kong during the 1970s. Television
advertisements would say "1 feet equals 3
feet" (一呎等如三尺), as the Chinese term
for metre literally means metric feet.
The Hong Kong government introduced the
6-year free compulsory education in 1971,
and expanded it to 9-year in 1978.
Companies were also seeking highly
educated employees for complex projects.
72% of overseas graduates between 1962
and 1976 would come back to Hong Kong to
take on highly skilled domestic positions
The 1970s was the first decade in Hong Kong with daily
news broadcasts. The news programs ranked top 10
continuously for a decade.
Other segment of the ratings included TV dramas, which
averaged 80 to 120 episodes, usually broadcasting at 7:00
PM. 66% of the population tuned in regularly covering 2 to
3 million viewers nightly. Popular final episodes would
empty out streets and restaurants. Most series did not
contain much if any Chinese traditionalism.
The theme songs of these dramas also helped revived
Cantonese music - the term Cantopop was indeed coined
during this period of time.
The 1975 Japanese series
Ultraman (Chinese: 咸蛋超人) was
aired, and was named as such
since the protagonist had eyes
resembling eggs. The children
were fascinated. Kids tried to "fly"
in the air, imitating their heroes.
Two kids (aged 3½ and 4½)
attempted a flight jumping off a 7
story building in Kowloon City on
July 26, 1975. The younger brother
was killed on the spot, while the
elder was miraculously saved. The
broadcast of the series was
suspended for some time after the
The martial arts films Cinema
starred by Bruce Lee,
including the 1971 The
Big Boss (唐山大兄)
and Fist of Fury (精武
門) the following year,
Cantonese films were
much revived in the
1970s, with the great
success of 1976 "The
Private Eyes" (半斤八
兩), directed by
In August 1971, Typhoon
Rose passed over Hong
Kong causing extensive
damage, forcing the
hoisting of Hurricane
Signal No. 10 on August
16. A total of 5,664 people
from 1,032 families
became homeless. The
typhoon also destroyed
653 wooden huts and
damaged 24 buildings, six
In June 1972, torrential rains caused two serious
landslides in Sau Mau Ping and the Mid-levels
In the Sau Mau Ping case, shanty town dwellers
refused to evacuate despite warning; a road
embankment partially collapsed and the debris
buried those in their dwelling. Together there were
over 150 deaths, 110 injured and more than 5000
people were left homeless.
The Mid-levels case happened at Kotewall Road. A large
area of a slope collapsed, demolishing a 12-story apartment
block and taking the top floors off a block next to it.
Po Shan Road (1972)
Failure of a natural hillside caused by undercutting at the slope toe
- a 15-storey building destroyed and 67 people killed.
In the 1970s, corruption was a way of life in Hong
Kong, being the norm in all government
departments. Policemen would often extract bribes
(popularly called "tea fee") before they
investigated a crime, as did firemen before they
rescued people and put out fires. Many Chinese
detective superintendents amassed incredible
wealth from their corrupt dealings with triads and
That is not to say British officers were entirely
clean in their dealings.
In 1974, Hong Kong Governor Lord MacLehose of
Beoch, realizing the seriousness of the problem,
founded the Independent Commission Against
Corruption (ICAC). The investigations and arrests
of many police officers created a furor among the
police, who protested against the ICAC and even
tried to overrun the headquarters in one protest.
The efforts of the ICAC in time changed the habits
of an entire population and turned Hong Kong into
one of the least corrupt cities in the world.
To improve the quality of public housing and
relieve overcrowded conditions, the government
announced the Ten-year Housing Program (十年
建屋計劃) in 1972, with the goal of providing
quality housing for 1.8 millions people in 10 years.
The Hong Kong Housing Authority was thus
formed to spearhead the program.
The government also introduced the Home
Ownership Scheme (居者有其屋計劃) in 1976,
building houses and selling them at below-market
prices to help people own property.
Wellcome, the first supermarket in Hong Kong,
was opened in Central in 1970. It was called
"Gweilo market" by some locals, as most
customers were westerners during the initial
period of its operation.
By 1975, more than 200 big- and small-scaled
supermarkets could be found in the city. These
new stores eliminated most traditional rice dealers
(米舖), wine shops (辦館) and convenient stores
(See Dor) (士多).
The Big M comes to town
The first McDonald's
restaurant opened on
Causeway Bay in 1975.
Hong Kong's first underground
railroad, the Mass Transit
Railway (MTR) was opened in
October 1979. The first line
served eastern Kowloon from
Shek Kip Mei to Kwun Tong. In
December services were
extended to Tsim Sha Tsui and
by 1980 it was possible to ride
from Kwun Tong to the central
business district in Central on
the other side of the harbour on
Hong Kong Island.
The Cross-Harbour Tunnel, the
first underwater tunnel in Hong
Kong, opened in 1972. For the
first time in the region's history,
people could travel between
Hong Kong and Kowloon
without taking ferries. As a The area around the entrance of the Cross
result, small electrical boats like Harbour Tunnel at the Island side in the
sampans (小電船) were 1970s, when the tunnel was being
gradually eliminated. constructed.
As a result of the water shutdown by mainland
China during the Cultural Revolution riots in Hong
Kong, the government responded with a
desalination plant at Lok On Pai, Castle Peak in
The High Island Reservoir construction went from
1969 to 1979, and was expected to be the same
size as Plover Cove. The construction, contracted
by a Japanese company cost more than HKD
Tsang Tsou Choi, or the
"Kowloon Emperor", began
his career of calligraphy
graffiti in 1970.
The Jumbo Floating
established in October
1976 by Dr. Stanley Ho
after four years and over
HK$30 million were spent
to design and build it. It
was originally decorated in
the style of an ancient
Chinese imperial palace.
The Jumbo restaurant
caught fire beofre being
Hong Kong Essay Checklist
Introduction to explain the purpose of the essay
Paragraphs on each area of research
Explanation of causes and effects
Comparisons between then and now
Explanations from different sources of information