Located at the northern reaches near the border, Fanling and Sheung Shui are typical residential suburbs with a sprinkle of lowrise historic villages.
The Fanling Magistracy has been revitalized and is now used by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups. It was built in 1960 and opened in 1961 to manage local cases as they previously had to go to Ping Shan and Tai Po for minor cases and Kowloon for more serious charges. Back then, disputes were often settled by the elders within the villages, hence having courts in the area were deemed not necessary.
The government saw a need to extend the court system to the New Territories, and the Fanling facility was the first to be set up. With the area's population growth, new facilities have been built and this building was no longer used from 2002 onwards.
The defendant comes in through these gates.
Some of the detention cells are used as working areas.
The central atrium has patterned granite tiles and ornamental metal balustrades with timber railings.
Of the 2 courtrooms upstairs, 1 has been preserved in its original state and is open to visitors.
The magistrates come into the courtroom by a dedicated passageway at the back. Their chambers are attached to this verandah.
One of these chambers is now an exhibition area.
The public hall outside has been set up as a study and working area.
There is a light well next to the staircase.
Back downstairs, the shroff's office next to the entrance lobby is quite secure and the safe is kept in a separate room.
Fanling Wai is one of the historic lowrise villages that once dominated this part of Hong Kong. It now borders the leafy North District Park and I doubt the cannons at the entrance can still fire.
Hong Kong's parks are typically well-manicured with roped off grassy areas, making it difficult to find a tranquil place to sit down, have a picnic, and enjoy the greenery up close.