SCAD Hong Kong

Formerly the North Kowloon Magistracy (CN: 北九龍裁判法院 / 北九龍裁判司署), the historic building has been revitalised into a center for art and design by SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design Hong Kong). The tertiary institution offers internationally recognized degree programmes in the fields of art and design.

Hong Kong and colonial architecture buffs will want to check this one out with most of the historic elements having been retained. In fact, one prison cell and one courtroom have been left untouched.

There is also a free public gallery onsite to view works of the students and you can also contact the school to register for their free guided heritage tours.

The gallery, Moot Gallery is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Nearby Hotel Pick

YHA Mei Ho House Youth Hostel – Features modern and comfortable accommodations offering twin rooms, double rooms, family rooms and dormitory rooms. A 5 mins walk from MTR Sham Shui Po Station and 3 mins walk from SCAD.

Wikipedia Says

Before 1942, two magistracies were handling offences in Kowloon: one, located in Shanghai Street between Public Square Street and Market Street, was demolished in 1957. The other one was the Kowloon Magistracy in Gascoigne Road, built in 1936 and renamed the South Kowloon District Court in 1957. The North Kowloon Magistracy was built in 1960. After its completion, the building functioned as both magistrates’ courts and space on the upper floors for more Government offices. During the illegal Chinese influx during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, if the illegal immigrants arrived the Magistracy after making their way from the border, they will be granted permanent residency on Hong Kong. It became the sole judicial court handling offences in Kowloon in 2000, when the magistracy in Gascoigne Road was closed.

The North Kowloon Magistracy was closed on 3 January 2005 due to cost saving policy of the government and consolidation of magistracies from nine to six. The estimated saving from the closure of North Kowloon Magistracy is HK$6.6 million a year coming mainly from the reduction of registry staff. Cases from this court have consequently been dealt with in Kwun Tong, Kowloon City and Sha Tin Magistrates’ Courts.

Jurisdiction
The magistracy was classified as the lowest court that handled indictable and summary offences. It was made up of a Juvenile Court, four Magistrates’ courts and government offices. Minor offences such as traffic conviction, littering and juvenile offences were treated in the Special Magistrates and Juvenile Court respectively. Solemn cases were usually transferred to the District Courts or the Court of First Instance. The maximum sentence in the Magistracy is two years’ imprisonment and a mulct of $100,000. There were more than forty defendants attended the court daily and could reach up to eighty occasionally.

The staircase where parties face off in front of the Magistracy in Hong Kong television dramas and movies

Important events
The cases adjudicated in North Kowloon Magistracy were mostly minor ones including prostitution, illegal hawking and littering in prohibited areas.

On 7 December 1998, an elderly hawker suddenly set fire to himself in the Magistracy after he was convicted of illegal hawking, fined HK$400 and had his jade trinkets confiscated. He died two days later in the hospital.

In December 2002, someone sprayed red paint on the rear door of the Magistracy to support the implementation of Article 23, he was later charged with criminal damage to property.

In December 2003 Kwai Bing Hong (aka King of the Gangsters) (Traditional Chinese: 季炳雄) appeared in the Magistracy facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and causing grievous bodily harm to two police officers. Since Kwai was a mastermind of a cross-border gang and the most wanted criminal whom the Hong Kong Police Force had wished to apprehend, there were over one hundred armed police officers stationed outside the Magistracy on the trial date for security purposes.

Architecture
The 7-storey court building was built in granite ashlar blocks in 1960 and designed by Palmer & Turner Architects. North Kowloon Magistracy is featured by the Neo-classical architecture and Stripped Classicism, a form of neo-classicism from which most of the traditional mouldings, ornament and details have been elided, visually emphasizing the structural and proportional systems. Although there are a few other buildings of similar design in Hong Kong, the Magistracy building appears to be the only surviving example of this building type and therefore can be considered as a rarity.

The building is divided into 3 functional zones and characterized by independent circulation access for general public, magistrates and staff, police and prisoners respectively. Its gross floor area is approximately 7,345 m2 with a central atrium.

On its front facade, there are central projecting bay, symmetrical tall and narrow windows. Tiled apron panels can be seen. The external wall is mostly grey with blue canopies. A central light well was constructed spanning the third to the fifth floor.

Source: Wikipedia

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Details

  • Website: www.scad.edu
  • EN Address: 292 Tai Po Road, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
  • Getting There: MTR Sham Shui Po Station Exit D2. Walk along Kweilin Street to Tai Po Road.

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