Yim Tin Tsai (Sai Kung)

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There is another Yim Tin Tsai island in Hong Kong, located in Tolo Harbour. See Yim Tin Tsai (Tai Po).
Location of Yim Tin Tsai (in red)
St. Joseph's Chapel on Yim Tin Tsai
Abandoned salt farm on Yim Tin Tsai
Rev. Dominic Chan Chi-ming's former house on Yim Tin Tsai.
Statue of Joseph Freinademetz in St. Joseph's Chapel.

Yim Tin Tsai (Chinese: 鹽田仔; literally: 'Little Salt Field') is a small offshore island in Sai Kung, Hong Kong. As of 2013 there is at least one person living on the island again after a long absence of a permanent population.[1]


The island has an area of 0.24 km².[2] It is located in Port Shelter, the harbour located south of Sai Kung Peninsula and east of the Sai Kung mainland,[3] it is connected by a breakwater in its southern part to the larger island of Kau Sai Chau. People can freely cross over to Kau Sai Chau and follow the walking trails as of 2018. [4]

The smaller islands of Shek Chau and Kwun Cham Wan are located off the coast of Yim Tin Tsai, in the northwest and the southwest respectively.


The island was settled by members of the Hakka[5] Chan (陳) clan during the 19th century[5][6][7] (other sources mention 300 years ago[8]); the Chans came from Yim Tin (鹽田; pinyin: Yántián), now part of the Yantian District of Shenzhen. The new settlement was called Yim Tin Tsai in its memory.[9] Other members of the clan settled in Yim Tin Tsai in Tai Po and Ping Yeung, in Ta Kwu Ling, North District.[7] At its peak, Yim Tin Tsai had 500 inhabitants[10] (other sources mention 1,200[9]). Villagers lived on farming, fishing and salt-making, they farmed 6 acres (24,000 m2) of salt field, the smallest of the five salt fields in Hong Kong at the time.[5] Other salt fields were in Tai O, Lantau Island, San Hui and Wong Ka Wai in Tuen Mun, Yim Liu Ha in Sha Tau Kok and Yim Tin Tsai in Tai Po.[7]

Baptism of the island's residents started in 1866,[6] and by 1875, all villagers on the island were baptised.[5][8] In 1879 a chapel was set up by Joseph Freinademetz (who was canonised in 2003).[8]

Ching Po School, the village school closed down in the 1990s due to a lack of students.[5]

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on 17 March 2013 after the village was given approval to revitalise its abandoned salt fields. Chief Secretary Carrie Lam and Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong Dominic Chan officiated the ceremony; the event was recorded by the YouTube personality, Vincent Chan (zh:陳展熙), a descendant of the Chan clan. [11]


The current St. Joseph's Chapel replaced the first chapel on Yim Tin Tsai. Built in Italian Romanesque style,[5] it was completed in 1890, with a school adjacent to it;[8] the chapel is a Grade III historic building.[12] It has been renovated three times, the last being in 2004;[5] the rehabilitation of the abandoned St. Joseph's Chapel received an Award of Merit as part of the 2005 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards.[13] Cardinal Zen held a special mass in the chapel on 7 May 2006.[14][15]

The Yim Tin Tsai Typhoon Shelter, established in 1968, is located at the east of the island, it is bordered on the east by the northern part of Kau Sai Chau, and by breakwaters in the north and south.[16]

Mangrove is found off the breakwater linking Yim Tin Tsai and Kau Sai Chau.[17]

The Louisa Landale Campsite, managed by the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association, is located in the southern part of the island.[18]

Man Hei Chan, another descendant of the Chan clan, runs the Facebook group for the village.


Yim Tin Tsai can be reached by private ferry from Sai Kung Town.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Yim Tin Tsai Revisited (Video)". YouTube. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  2. ^ Puwei Hu, Fuwu Xing, Lin Chen, Meina Wang, Faguo Wang, Hongfeng Chen. [https://web.archive.org/web/20120426020644/http://pub.chinasciencejournal.com/article/getArticle.action?articleId=23974 Archived 26 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Vegetation and vascular plant diversity of islands surrounding Port Shelter, Hong Kong, China]. Biodiversity Science, 2011, V19(05): 605–609
  3. ^ "Boundaries of Port Shelter Area". Legislation.gov.hk. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Yim Tin Tsai Ancestral Village (Video)". YouTube. 27 December 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Humble Beginnings on Yim Tin Tsai". Exploresaikung.com. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  6. ^ a b Yim Tin Tsai – Hakka Village and Catholicism
  7. ^ a b c http://evanlife.org.hk/ev_route/e_history_bk.pdf
  8. ^ a b c d e Yim Tin Tsai Village and St. Joseph's Chapel Archived 29 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b Yim Tin Tsai Village and St. Joseph's Chapel (Chinese version) Archived 14 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine (in Chinese)
  10. ^ Local Characteristics of Sai Kung District Archived 17 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Yim Tin Tsai Ground Breaking Ceremony (Video)". YouTube. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  12. ^ "List of Graded Buildings (Master List) 452 as at 6 Nov 09.xls" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  13. ^ 2005 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award
  14. ^ RASHKB/AMO Volunteers Conservation Newsletter (May 2006)
  15. ^ "Video: TVB program about the mass held by Cardinal Zen at St. Joseph's Chapel". Spike.com. 7 May 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  16. ^ "Plan of Passage Area in Yim Tin Tsai Typhoon Shelter" (PDF). Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  17. ^ The mangrove & the offshore islands in Sai Kung Archived 5 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ AmCham Hong Kong: Living in Hong Kong[dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°22′39″N 114°18′11″E / 22.3775°N 114.303174°E / 22.3775; 114.303174