Security expert talks about his time fighting crime in Hong Kong

David Thomas is president of Safe Communities Portugal. In his “former life”, he served for 31 years in the then Royal Hong Kong Police, retiring as Assistant Commissioner in 2005.

David will be talking about his experiences during a talk on Monday, February 13 in the Municipal Library of Tavira and later on Wednesday, February 15 in the Convento de São José in Lagoa, both starting at 6pm.

In the early 1970s, he was an inspector and one of his first jobs was special operations in what was then the Kowloon Walled City.

Originally a Chinese military fort, the Kowloon Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories were leased to Britain in 1898.

After World War II, many immigrants from China settled in the Walled City and by the 1960s its population had swelled to around 33,000, and these people lived in illegal high-rise buildings covering an area of just 2.6 hectares.

At its height, it provided some 8,000 dwellings and nearly 1,000 businesses operated there, ranging from noodle and doll factories to illegal dentists using mechanical drills!

Characterised by criminal activities such as drug trafficking and production as well as prostitution under the control of the triads, it was a dangerous place for outsiders and few ventured there.

David’s daunting task was to combat these activities, but the underworld extended far beyond the triads! His fascinating account of police operations at the time, supported by photographs, will take the audience back to a unique period in Hong Kong’s history – never to be repeated, except perhaps in a movie!

The talks are organised by the Algarve History Association, which asks for voluntary monetary contributions rather than charging an admission fee.

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