27 October 2016
Columns of logs sticking out of the placid waters serve as relics of Yam O's lumberyard past. Photo: HKEJ
Columns of logs sticking out of the placid waters serve as relics of Yam O's lumberyard past. Photo: HKEJ

Ghosts of a lumberyard still haunt Yam O

When the MTR train arrives at Sunny Bay, most commuters would switch to the Disneyland Resort Line enroute to the Magic Kingdom.

Few would walk out from the station to take a look at the area.

The place has come to be known as Sunny Bay (欣澳) only in the past decade. It used to be called Yam O (陰澳), meaning “shady bay” in Chinese, as the hill on the northern side provides a shade to this inland port.

In the 1960s, a reclamation project was launched in Cheung Sha Wan and a lumberyard in the area was relocated to Yam O Wan on Lantau Island, as it was a calm, deep and wide bay perfect for lumber storage.

While salt water corroded the surface of the logs, the moisture prevented the logs from cracking. In order to prevent the logs from drifting away, columns of logs were driven into the bay’s floor.

They could still be seen sticking out of the placid waters, relics of the bay’s lumberyard past.

During the peak of lumber trading in the ’70s and ’80s, entrepreneurs imported logs from several Southeast Asian countries and resold them to other countries.

The quantity was so massive that layers of logs were stacked up above the waters, presenting a breathtaking scene that could no longer be seen today.

With the development of Chek Lap Kok international airport and related infrastructure projects such as the highway and railway, reclamation work shrank the size of Yam O Wan.

It also marked the fall of the lumber business.

The last wood trading company closed shop more than 10 years ago, leaving behind the logs as mute reminders of a once thriving industry.

Despite the establishment of the Sunny Bay MTR station, the nearby Luk Keng village is still well-preserved.

Nevertheless, the tranquility of the village may soon be shattered by another reclamation project being proposed by the government in the area.

By that time, Yam O will only be a memory, its history preserved in the archives.

Getting there:

To go to / return from Sunny Bay: Take MTR to Sunny Bay station.

Time: About one hour

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 12, 2015.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Crystal clear water caresses the rocky shore at Yam O. Photo: HKEJ

Nearby Luk Keng village is still well-preserved. Photo: HKEJ

HKEJ contributor

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