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A Day on Ghost Island

By Stasia Fong 12 January 2015
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Fifteen minutes from Sai Kung Pier lies Yim Tin Tsai, Hong Kong’s ‘Ghost Island’. In its heyday, approximately 1,000 residents of the Hakka Chan clan populated Yim Tin Tsai, operating farms that provided salt to Hong Kong. Today, its only resident is a caretaker.Dean Gagliardi, an Australian expat living in Hong Kong, ventured to Yim Tin Tsai on New Years Day, documenting his experience with an eerie video, capturing the structures, abandoned by the island’s inhabitants in the late 1980s and early 1990s when they all relocated to Hong Kong Island and Europe.A hobbyist photographer, Gagliardi is drawn to Ghost Island by its peaceful and unique qualities. A previous visit yielded a collection of still photographs, but he felt it was time to try some video.“It is a very target rich environment. Plenty of decaying houses and some wild landscapes.”The island, which boasts a small organic farm and a UNESCO protected chapel,is otherwise completely deserted, slowly being absorbed and claimed by nature and neglect.So did Gagliardi experience any spooky encounters during his time on Ghost Island? Well, no. “It might be a different story if you stayed over night though, or if you miss the ferry at 5pm, since there’s no other way of getting off the island.”You can take a leap into the unknown and trek to Yim Tin Tsai yourself with a 15- 20 minute ferry ride from Sai Kung Pier. The ferry only runs on Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays and costs HK$45 for a return trip (4-5 trips a day).

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Born in Singapore and raised in Hong Kong, Stasia Fong is a freelance writer with dreams of breaking into the television industry and executive produce her own television show.