Tsing Yi (青衣), or Tsing Yi Island (青衣島) is an island of Hong Kong, to the northwest of Hong Kong Island. Area: 10.25 kmē. The island has extented drastically by reclamation of all its natural shore and annexation of Nga Ying Chau and Chau Tsai. There major bays or harbours, Tsing Yi Tong (青衣塘), Mun Tsai Tong (門仔塘) and Tsing Yi Bay (青衣灣) in the northest are completely reclaimed one by one for new town.
Should the island be divided into four quarters, the northeast quarter is residential area, the southeast quarter is container port and heavy industry, the southwest is heavy industry, and the northwest is recreation trail, transportation interchange and ship yards.
Tsing Yi is part, together with Kwai Chung, of Tsuen Wan New Town and of the Kwai Tsing district in the New Territories.
Note: Tsing Yi is not part of the Islands District.
Historical, Tsing Yi Island, with Kwai Chung, were usually on the same administration unit of Tsuen Wan since their proximity and closely-knitted society.
Unlike Kwai Chung, whose villages are of Tsuen Wan Rural Committee, Tsing Yi Island has its own, Tsing Yi Rural Committee.
Rural committee was politically significant until the establishment of district council and Regional Council (abolished), when the urban population is much more than rural population.
Rambler Channel hugs the north and east shore of Tsing Yi Island. Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung are on the another shore of the channel. The south end of the channel touches the reclaimed land of Stonecutter's Island. The south water is Victoria Harbour. A smaller island, Ma Wan, which stands opposite to Tsing Yi Island, is separated by Ma Wan Channel (馬灣海峽).
Tsing Yi (青衣) means green (or black) clothes. It is also a kind of fish, probably Green Wrasse, once abundant in nearby waters. People named the island with the name of the fish.
Tsing Yi Tam (青衣潭) or Tsing Yi Tam Shan (青衣潭山) is also appeared on some early Chinese maps. Tam (潭) is pool, enclosed water and Shan (山) is hill, or hilly island on map.
Historially, the island was also known as Chun Fa Lok (春花落), which lit. means the fall of spring flower, or Chun Fa Island, on some Western maps. Chun Fa Lok is still a place name in the southeast of the island. A Ming document source shows the water near Chun Fa Lok was Chun Fa Yeung (春花洋), probably now Rambler Channel. Ming navy defected a huge fleet of pirates there.
In some historical sources, Tsing-I Island is used instead of Tsing Yi Island, and Chung-Hue Island instead of Chun Fa Island.
There were about 4000 people on the island when British took the New Territories around 1898. From the 2001 Census, there were 193432 people, i.e. 55478 households, on the island. In the past hundred year, the population grew nearly 50 times.
In the early days, the inhabitants on the island were farmers and fishermen. The population concentrated in the northeast portion of the island. Farmers grew rice, vegetables and pineapples. Fishermen lived in the small harbour of Tsing Yi Tong (青衣塘). They lived on their junks and boats all the time and fished in the nearby waters. They worshipped Tin Hau, the goddess of mercy and sea, and a temple was build on the shore of Tsing Yi Tong. At the birthday of Tin Hau, fishermen of all nearby waters came to the Tin Hau Temple (天后廟) for celebration.
From 1920s, some mainlanders came to build some factories producing lime. It is the earliest known industry on the island. The lime industry continued flourish in 1950s, and tanning factory also founded at the same period. After World War II, some heavy industries moved in. In 1960s, several oil companies moved their oil storages to the island, together with an power plant of China Light and Power, and cement plant of Green Island Cement. Meanwhile, some small shipbuilding company moved in. In 1970s, six big companies on the island built Tsing Yi Bridge (青衣大橋) to connect Tsing Yi and Kwai Chung over the Rambler Channel. The bridge was soon given to Hong Kong Government and remained the sole road connection to the island for over ten years. Several industrial buildings were built for light industries beside the bridge later. Several dockyards moved to west shore of the island at the end of 1970s.
It is worth note that Tsing Yi Island was once famous for a paradise of nudist on Wak Tai Wan (鑊底灣) in 1950s. Tsing Yi was once a synonym of nudism!
After the establishment of the bridge, Hong Kong Government started an extensive new town project on the island. Cheung Ching Estate (長青邨), Cheung Hong Estate (長康邨) and Mayfair Garden (美景花園) were built consequently. The proximity of Mobil (美孚) oil storage to Mayfair Garden and Cheung Ching Estate aroused the vast concern for its safety. Some social workers and residents urged the government to relocate the storage. The government only halted the last phase development of Mayfair Garden. The storage remained there until the decision to build Container Terminal 9.
Later, the focus of town building shifted northward. Two fisherman harbours, Tsing Yi Tong, and Mun Tsai Tong (門仔塘) were reclaimed for residental use. Many fishermen were relocated to a new residental block, the Ching Tao House (青桃樓) of Chueng Ching Estate. The land inhibitants were concentrated to several designated areas to re-build their villages. The primary sectors are all gone under this stage of development. Tsing Yi Estate (青衣邨), Cheung On Estate (長安邨), Cheung Fat Estate (長發邨), Ching Tai Court (青泰苑) and Tsing Yi Garden (青怡花園) were built after finishing reclamation. Ching Wah Court (青華苑) was built near Cheung Hong Estate.
At the same time, Tsing Yi Bridge was badly overburdened and the structure was unable to cope with ever-increasing traffic. There was only one lane in each direction on the bridge. Traffic congestion reached notorious and aroused protest. Finally, Tsing Yi North Bridge (青衣北橋), a connection to Tsuen Wan was built to accommodate the explosion of residental population.
Tsing Yi was under furthur development. Greenfield Garden (翠怡花園), Serene Garden (海欣花園), Broadview Garden (偉景花園), Cheung Hang Estate (長亨邨) were built.
The final decision of relocation of Hong Kong International Airport spored new chain of development - Airport Railway, Ting Kau Bridge to Ting Kau (汀九) and North New Territories, Tsing Ma Bridge to Ma Wan and Lantau Island, Rambler Channel Bridge (藍巴勒海峽大橋) to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, Tsing Yi Doubling Bridge (青衣複製橋) on the side of Tsing Yi Bridge, the structure strengthen of Tsing Yi Bridge.
On the island, new residental projects, Tivoli Garden (宏福花園), Grand Horizon (海欣花園), Mount Haven (曉峰園), Villa Esplanada (灝景灣), Tierra Verde (盈翠半島), Cheung Wang Estate (長宏邨) were completed.
The Container Terminal 9 is built on the southwest shore of the island, together with resident blocks, Rambler Crest (藍澄灣).
Tsing Yi Island is a transportation hub in Hong Kong. There are eight bridges connected to the island.
MTR metro system have Tsing Yi Station on the island. It is part of the Tung Chung and Airport Express lines.
- Cheung Ching (長青巴士總站)
- Cheung Hang (長亨巴士總站)
- Cheung Hong (長康巴士總站)
- Cheung On (長安巴士總站)
- Cheung Wang (長宏巴士總站), formerly, Tsing Yan (青欣)
- Mayfair Garden (美景花園)
- Tsing Yi AR Station (青衣機鐵站)
- Tsing Yi Estate (青衣邨巴士總站)
- Tsing Yi Pier (青衣碼頭)
Before completion of Tsing Yi Bridge, ferry was the only public transport. Tsing Yi Pier was built nearly Tsing Yi Market. The pier followed the change of shore owing to reclamation, and moved seafront nearly near Greenfield Garden.
All ferry service ceases with rapid development of road and rail transport. It no longer takes residents to Tsuen Wan and Central. The pier is now open for public.
The Department of Health runs two general out-patient clinics on the island. The first one is Tsing Yi Cheung Hong Clinic in Cheung Hong Estate and another is Tsing Yi Town Clinic near Tsing Yi Garden. There is also one maternal and child health centre, Tsing Yi Maternal and Child Health Centre, on the island, at the same floor of Tsing Yi Cheung Hong Clinic.
There are also at least one private clinics in each housing estate.
In town planning, Tsing Yi Hospital is supposed to be built near Cheung Hang Estate but the plan was put off owning to financial difficulty of Hospital Authority.
Tsing Yi Station has a huge shopping centre, Maritime Square, with hundreds of residential apartments above it, reaching up to a height of over 40 floors.
The apartments overlook a park on its southern side. People practice Tai Chi in it in the early morning hours.