Wong Kwong-tin, manager of the Kai Tak Company, Managing Director of the Kai Tak Motor Bus Company…

IDJ has sent the following newspaper article which was published in the Hong Kong Sunday Herald in a 1930s long series entitled Hong Kong Personalities.

HF: As you will read Wong Kwong-tin, the subject of the article was connected to the Kai Tak Company which was involved in the reclamation of Kowloon Bay on which Kai Tak aerodrome was built. He was also Managing Director of the Kai Tak Motor Bus Company.

We do not currently have information about either of these companies and I would be grateful in anyone can supply any.

HF: I have retyped the original article to aid clarity and searches.

Thanks to SCT for proofreading the retyped copy of the article.

Hong Kong Personalities

Wong Kwong Tin HK Sunday Herald 1st Sept 1935

MR. WONG KWONG-TIN J.P.

This is the fifty-seventh of the exclusive series of sketches of leading Colony residents by Mr A.S. Konya, the talented Hungarian artist.

Our personality this week is Mr. Wong Kwong-tin J.P., Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

Born in Hong Kong, where his family had been resident for three generations, on December 13, 1879, Mr. Wong Kwong-tin is the son of the late Mr. Wong Tin-tseung, who was in his day one of the foremost students of St Paul’s College, where he was a schoolmate of the late Sir Boshan Wei-yuk. Mr Wong Kwong-tin himself was educated at Queen’s College and entered Government service in 1895, leaving it in 1916 to join the Kai Tak Company as Manager. This company was formed, with a capital of $2,500,000, to carry out the important scheme of reclaiming an area of 12,000,000 Sq. Ft. from Kowloon Bay, on which the Kai Tak Aerodrome is now situated.

He is widely known for the splendid public-spirited work he has performed for the Colony over a long period of years. In business he is interested in a number of firms and holds a seat on various boards of directors; but he is perhaps best known as the highly respected Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Managing Director of the Kai Tak Land Investment Company, who own extensive properties in the near neighbourhood of the Kai Tak Aerodrome. He is also pioneer Managing Director of the Kai Tak Motor Bus Company, which has been a most important factor in, and largely responsible for, the development of the Kowloon Peninsula.

This is Mr. Wong’s third term as Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, he having served four years already. It was under his chairmanship that the report of the Chamber and the speeches at the annual meeting were for the first time published in English.

Mr. Wong is one of the founders of the University of Hong Kong and figured prominently on the organising committee of the first Fair that was held to raise funds for the equipment of the University. When the problem of raising some $50,000, to form the nucleus of a fund to establish the Medical Faculty, arose, he was personally responsible for persuading Mr. Ng Li-hing to subscribe the whole amount needed. He has been a member of the Council of the University since its foundation and still takes a keen interest in all its activities.

Mr. Wong was one of the founders of the Chinese Companies of the Police Reserve, formed during the Great War, and rendered splendid service in various criminal cases, including murder and bank note forgery. As Chief Inspector he was O.C. of the four Chinese Companies and received the special thanks of the Government, published in the Gazette, and the Police Medal, with three silver bars, for his excellent work during those troubled times.

In 1925 ge again rendered great service to the Government during the great General Strike, when, as Managing Director of the Kai Tak Motor Bus Company, he persuaded his drivers to resume work, thus giving a lead which was soon followed by other workers, to the alleviation of a dangerous state of affairs.

For many years a member of the Sanitary Board, he again did yeoman service to the Colony during the drought of 1929, as a member of the Emergency Committee specially elected to deal with the situation, many of his helpful suggestions being adopted. His great public services received further recognition in 1931 when he was the recipient of the much prized Certificate of Merit, awarded by His Majesty the King.

Mr Wong Kwong-tin’s activities in welfare work are wide and varied. In 1922 he founded an orphanage, which resulted in the gift by the Government of the old Paper Mill at Aberdeen to form the original Aberdeen Industrial School, of which he became a Director. He is a strong practical supporter of both the Boy Scouts and the St. John Ambulance Brigade, a Director of the Advisory Board of the Tung Wah Hospital, Chairman of the Public Dispensary, Eastern District, Chairman of the Chin Sing Benevolent Society, a member of the Chinese Permanent Cemeteries Committee and of the Chinese Temples Committee. In 1921, at a mass meeting of the Chinese community at the Tai Ping Theatre, he was elected Hon. Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Mui Tsui, becoming President later.

Mr Wong Kwong-tin, it is worthy of note, was largely responsible for the organisation and success of the great night and day processions in honour of His Majesty’s Silver Jubilee, the most spectacular ever staged in the Colony and twice as large as those of 1907.

A former member of the Chinese Recreation Club, he is the founder and first President of the Chinese Athletic Club, President of the Chinese Civil Service Club, Patron of the Chinese Athletic Association and Chairman of the Chinese Club.

Source: The Hong Kong Sunday Herald 1st September 1935.

This article was first posted on 12th October 2021.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Kai Tak airport – 1925 to 1945, a brief history
  2. Kai Tak airport – BAAG reports 1942-1944, plus other landing strips
  3. Kai Tak airport – World War Two, BAAG maps, sketches and plans
  4. Pearl Harbour Day in Hong Kong – Japanese attack on Kai Tak airport, December 1941
  5. Dragages Hong Kong – first HK projects, Kai Tak runway extension and Shek Pik reservoir
  6. Pathé film – Kai Tak airport terminal building opening 1962
  7. First commercial airliner shot down by hostile air action – out of Kai Tak, 1938
  8. Replacing Kai Tak airport post WW2 – three articles about Ping Shan/Deep Bay
  9. Netherlands Harbour Works Company – dredging HK harbour / reclamation at Kai Tak 1927
  10. Lard Factories in HK – nauseating stench RAF Kai Tak 1920s
  11. Tai Shing Paper Mill – builders of the Aberdeen Lower reservoir, 1890

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