Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - View from Checkerboard Hill, Kowloon

Checkerboard Hill was once a favourite vantage point for viewing planes flying in on their approach to Kai Tak. The hill sits on the northern end of Kowloon Tsai Park and got its name from the two red/white painted checkerboards that acted as a visual marker for pilots coming in to land. It was at the arrival of these markers that the pilots would have to execute a 40 degree turn in order to be correctly lined up for the runway.

One of the checkerboards is still visible on the south facing slope of the hill - although it is in bad need of some restoration before it completely fades (so come on then, HK Govt). I'm guessing that the western facing checkerboard is still there but is now obscured by significant tree growth.

Anyway, for those who wish to go the the top of the hill it is part of Lok Fu Park and is accessible from Junction Road. The vantage point is a public space built over the hilltop reservoir and it's usually deserted. Obviously there are no planes to watch anymore, but it's a shame the place can't have some sort of small gallery built up there so people can see what the view was once like.

In the meantime you will have to settle for these few screencaps from Golgo, taken at the exact same spot above the southern checkerboard. The building in the immediate foreground of the third picture is the Holy Family Canossian College. In fact many of the buildings in that shot are still around thanks to the low amount of redevelopment in that part of Kowloon City/Kowloon Tong.

The squatter village in the last picture is the same one occupying the Carpenter Road Park that can be seen in Roaring Fire - filmed 5 years later and starring Sonny Chiba's famous protege, Hiroyuki Sanada.


  1. I heard that unfortunately it has been the intention to let the checkerboards fade. I believe one was painted over in order not to confuse pilots.

    1. I feel some guerilla painting may be in order...;)