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  • with photography by Gary Jones

    Sunset Survivors tells the stories of Hong Kong’s traditional tradesmen and women through stunning imagery and candid interviews. Covering a myriad of curious professions that are quickly falling into obscurity, from fortune telling to face threading and letter writing to bird cage making, readers soon find themselves immersed in the streets of old Hong Kong.

    Filled with interviews, photographs and little-known facts about the city’s twilight industries, Sunset Survivors is a tribute to those who keep the flame burning in a city besieged by foreign imports and stiff competition. This book is a celebration of Hong Kong’s cultural identity. It preserves the memory of these hardy men and women, and educates visitors and locals on the foundations on which the city was built.

    An up-close and personal look at the industries and workers that gave rise to the Hong Kong of today, Sunset Survivors is more than just a travel or coffee-table book; it is a tribute to the city’s character, a celebration of its roots and a guide to its evolution.

    In a city undergoing a dramatic cultural shift, balancing social and political upheaval, the need to document Hong Kong’s traditional livelihoods has seldom been greater. Capturing the true personality of this metropolis, Sunset Survivors is a vital piece of history.

  • Out of stock

    with illustrations by Daniel Ng
    and forewords by Joshua Wong and Chip Tsao

    The Umbrella Movement put Hong Kong on the world map and elevated this docile, money-minded Asian island to a model for pro-democracy campaigns across the globe. Umbrellas in Bloom is the first book available in English to chronicle this history-making event, written by a bestselling author and columnist based on his firsthand account at the main protest sites.

    Jason Y. Ng takes a no-holds-barred, fly-on-the-wall approach to covering politics. His latest offering steps through the 79-day struggle, from the firing of the first shot of tear gas by riot police to the evacuation of the last protester from the downtown encampments. It is all you need to know about the occupy movement: who took part in it, why it happened, how it transpired, and what it did and did not achieve.

    Together with HONG KONG State of Mind (2010) and No City for Slow Men (2013), Umbrellas in Bloom forms a Hong Kong trilogy that traces the city’s sociopolitical development since its return to Chinese rule.

    Look inside this book

    Click on the following links to view sample pages from Umbrellas in Bloom. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Introduction

    The Breaking of Promises

    Hong Kong 2.0

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    The book you are holding contains secrets and stories about Hong Kong that have never before been published. Prepare to have your preconceived notions of this bustling Asian financial hub butchered as you journey through crevices, enter hidden portals, clamber over barbed-wire fences, evade security guards and infiltrate derelict structures to travel back in time. Your hosts are an anonymous grassroots squad of explorers who will show you a side of Hong Kong only a specialist minority know about.

    Although the city has some of the most expensive property on the planet, an unknown world awaits beyond the shimmering skyscrapers and under the glitzy malls. This is the hidden kingdom of non-spaces: environments and structures that lie fallow, usually abandoned and left to rot, or suspended in limbo awaiting evictions and demolition. The HK Urbex crew – a covert collective of urban explorers whose exploits merge archaeology, ethnography, historiography and anthropology – unearth dead zones on the periphery of the city. They invite you to explore haunted schools, rummage through old crime scenes, reconnoitre condemned buildings and uncover the scraps of modernisation which won’t be recorded in history books.

    So come inside, confront the aesthetic of loss, discover the value of dead architecture and see Hong Kong as you’ve never seen it before.

  • (Go to Chinese edition)

    The handover in 1997 saw Hong Kong’s smooth transition from colonial to Communist rule under the auspices of the ‘one country, two systems’ framework. But twenty years on, the real impact of the sovereignty change is just starting to register: the city’s near-total economic integration with the mainland, a massive influx of Chinese visitors, simmering cross-border tensions and a rapid erosion of freedoms. Believing that we are stronger and louder together, PEN Hong Kong invited some of Hong Kong’s most prominent literary and creative minds to reflect on the city’s post-colonial development, in a definitive compendium of essays, poems, fiction and artwork that marks this historical milestone.

     

    Michael Braga · Mary-Jean Chan · Jennifer S. Cheng · Kris Cheng · Chow Hon Fai · Larry Feign · Harry Harrison · Gérard Henry · Louise Ho · Oscar Ho Hing Kay · Tammy Ho Lai-Ming · Sarah Howe · Law Lok Man, Louise · Arthur Leung · Leung Ping-Kwan · Louisa Lim · Shirley Geok-lin Lim · Lui Wing Kai, Eric · William Nee · Jason Y. Ng · Margaret Ng · Timothy O’Leary · Michael O’Sullivan · Ilaria Maria Sala · Mishi Saran · Shahilla Shariff · Shen Jian · So Mei Chi · Tang Siu Wa · Eddie Tay · Chip Tsao · Stephen Vines · Marco Wan · Wawa · Kate Whitehead · Joshua Wong · Nicholas Wong · Xu Xi · Marco Yan · Chris Yeung · Douglas Young

    With forewords by Timothy Garton Ash and Kevin Lau Chun-to.

    "The success of Hong Kong’s pluralist citizenship will come out on top whatever the challenges. Reading many of the contributions [in Hong Kong 20/20] confirms me in that view." — Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong
     

     

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    “I can’t visualise us getting out of this, but I want to TRY to believe in a future,” wrote 23-year-old Barbara Anslow (then Redwood) in her diary on 8th December 1941, a few hours after Japan first attacked Hong Kong.

    Barbara's 1941-1945 diaries (with post-war explanations where necessary) are an invaluable source of information on the civilian experience in British Hong Kong during the second world war. The diaries record her thoughts and experiences through the fighting, the surrender, three-and-a-half years of internment, then liberation and adjustment to normal life.

    The diaries have been quoted by leading historians on the subject. Now they are available in print for the first time, making them available to a wider audience.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to read pages from Tin Hats and Rice. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Foreword and introduction

  •  

    Jersey-born William Mesny ran off to sea as a boy and jumped ship at Shanghai in 1860 when he was just 18. Amid the chaos of foreign intrigue and civil war in 19th-century China, he became a smuggler, a prisoner of the Taiping rebels, a gun-runner and finally enlisted in the Chinese military.

    After five years of fierce campaigning against the Miao in remote Guizhou province, Mesny rose to the rank of general and used this privileged position to travel around China – to the borders with Burma, Tibet and Vietnam – writing opinionated newspaper articles, collecting plants and advising government officials on the development of railways, telegraphs and other modern reforms.

    Mesny eventually settled in Shanghai with a 16-year-old concubine and published Mesny's Chinese Miscellany, a weekly magazine about his experiences. But his story was not to end well. After his implication in an illicit arms deal, his fortunes never recovered, and when he died in 1919 he was working as a desk clerk.

    David Leffman has spent over 15 years footstepping Mesny’s travels across China, interviewing locals and piecing together his life story from contemporary journals, private letters and newspaper articles.

    Look inside this book

    Click on the following links to view sample pages from The Mercenary Mandarin. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.   Foreword

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    Hong Kong, 1954. The British colony was not yet ready to hear about a Eurasian policeman having an affair with the police commissioner’s daughter. Twenty-two-year-old Simon Lee tasted swift punishment. He was banished to the outer fringes of the territory, to the far tip of a wild and distant island a stone’s throw from mainland Chinese waters — to Tai O, the ancient and murky trading post where fishermen, salt-farmers and refugees were thrown together with spies, pirates and triads. Pink dolphins swam the waters, eagles fished the sea, and some still believed that a tiger prowled the hills at night.

    It was a place haunted by history, where corpses had floated in the bay just a decade earlier when Japanese troops occupied the police station, and everybody had a secret about what they did during the war.

    Life was unpredictable for the band of beer-swilling misfits that staffed Tai O Police Station. Some said they needed reining in. But when a stranger was murdered on a beach, accused of being a Communist spy, Lee found himself on an unexpected collision course with his own masters in Central. Who had the dead man been working for? What did the secret agents know? Why was Central so eager to brush the execution aside? And who or what really was the ‘tiger’?


  • Japan marched into Hong Kong at the outbreak of the Pacific War on December 8, 1941. On the same day, Graham Heywood was captured by the invading Japanese near the border while carrying out duties for the Royal Observatory. He was held at various places in the New Territories before being transported to the military Prisoner-of-War camp in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. The Japanese refused to allow Heywood and his colleague Leonard Starbuck to join the civilians at the Stanley internment camp.

    Heywood’s illustrated diary records his three-and-a-half years of internment, telling a story of hardship, adversity, and survival of malnutrition and disease; as well as repeated hopes of liberation and disappointment. As he awaits the end of the war, his reflections upon freedom and imprisonment bring realisations about life and how to live it.

    Accounts of life in the internment camp differed widely. One friend, an enthusiastic biologist, was full of his doings; he had grown champion vegetables, had seen all sort of rare birds (including vultures, after the corpses) and had run a successful yeast brewery. Altogether, he said, it had been a great experience ... a bit too long, perhaps, but not bad fun at all. Another ended up her account by saying ‘Oh, Mr. Heywood, it was hell on earth’. It all depended on their point of view.”

    Heywood’s highly positive attitude to life is food for thought for all of us today, in the midst of increasing consumerism but decreasing spiritual satisfaction. We have enjoyed freedom and an abundance of material wealth in the 70 years since the end of the Pacific War, but we may not always recognise our true good fortune.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following links to view sample pages from It Won't Be Long Now. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.   Foreword   Chapter 1 - Capture

  •  

    Based on true stories and new research, Paul French weaves together the stories of those Jewish refugees who moved on from wartime Shanghai to seek a possible route to freedom via the Portuguese colony of Macao – “the Casablanca of the Orient”.

    The delicately balanced neutral enclave became their wartime home, amid Nazi and Japanese spies, escaped Allied prisoners from Hong Kong, and displaced Chinese.

    Strangers on the Praia relates the story of one young woman’s struggle for freedom that would ultimately prove an act of brave resistance.

     


  • In 1976, Peter Mann left a gloomy England for the last corner of the British empire: Hong Kong.

    As a police inspector, he commanded a sub-unit and led a district vice squad in Kowloon, before joining the colonial government’s Administrative Service and working in the fields of transport, housing, security, environment and tourism. He also served as District Officer, Wan Chai. From raids on gambling dens to organising Governors' visits, his work involved him in all levels of Hong Kong society.

    Mann’s memoir is an anecdotal, historical and racy account of Hong Kong’s last decades as a British colony and the colourful story of a young Englishman in the twilight of empire.

    Hong Kong is one of the most intriguing places in the world and its modern history is endlessly fascinating. This book is a highly readable addition to the canon of memoirs which illuminate the period.” – Rachel Cartland, author of Paper Tigress

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to read pages from Sheriff of Wan Chai. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.  Arrival in Hong Kong



  • Fighting to survive on a police patrol launch during a typhoon, and investigating a murder by a Vietnamese gangster in a refugee camp. Battling riots during the Cultural Revolution, countering drug smuggling and pimping by the triads, and dealing with bank robbers in a hostage situation. These are just some of the stories told in this riveting compilation of personal experiences of former Royal Hong Kong Police officers.

    In 1997, Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty after 156 years of British rule. This collection of no-holds-barred accounts by some 50 individual police officers, put together by three former colleagues, illustrates the last decades of the colony’s colourful history. This is what life was really like on the front line.

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK
    Click the following link to read excerpts from the book.

    Contents, preface and three stories

  • with John Peters and Lizzie Sharp-Eliazar

    Did you leave your fishing rods at home before relocating to Hong Kong, unaware that such a densely populated place could support recreational fishing?

    Mike Sharp and John Peters walk you through the local angling spots and describe key tactics normally known only by Hong Kong anglers. Carp fishing, pier fishing, and trolling for game fish are just some of the topics covered in a warm, descriptive text beautifully illustrated by Lizzie Sharp-Eliazar.

    Whether you live in a skyscraper or a village, this book will encourage you to get out onto the territory's beautiful waters or rocky shore and cast a line―in the hope that the next one will be the one that didn't get away.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the images on the left to view sample pages from Fishing in Hong Kong.

  • with illustrations by Lee Po Ng

    Author and blogger Jason Y. Ng has a knack for making the familiar both fascinating and funny. Three years after his bestselling début HONG KONG State of Mind, the razor-sharp observer returns with a sequel that is bigger and every bit as poignant.

    No City for Slow Men is a collection of 36 essays that examine some of the pressing social, cultural and existential issues facing Hong Kong. It takes us from the gravity-defying property market to the plunging depths of old age poverty, from the storied streets of Sheung Wan to the beckoning island of Cheung Chau, from the culture-shocked Western expat to the misunderstood Mainland Chinese and the disenfranchised foreign domestic worker. The result is a treatise on Hong Kong life that is thought-provoking, touching and immensely entertaining.

    Look inside this book
    Click on these links to read pages from No City for Slow Men. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Introduction   Horo-Logic   The Storm Cometh

  •  

    Have you ever wondered about that wacky-looking fruit staring back at you in the local wet market? Or did you want to know how to cook a particular Chinese vegetable, but don’t have the language skills?

    The Chinese Wet Market Handbook gives you the answers! This pocket-sized guidebook, designed to be taken out shopping with you, identifies fresh produce commonly found at Hong Kong’s food markets.

    Each item is identified by a photo, its English name, its romanised Cantonese name with tones, and its name in full-form Chinese characters. The guide explains traditional signage in Chinese characters, including weights and measures, and indicates whether a food is locally produced. Finally, it describes ten lively Hong Kong wet markets especially worth visiting and provides directions on how to find them.

    Whether you’re a Hong Kong resident who wants to shop at food markets but lacks the linguistic and culinary know-how, or a tourist who wants to explore the local culinary sights, this handy guide will help you navigate your way around one of the liveliest and most colourful parts of Hong Kong’s food scene.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the below links to view sample pages from The Chinese Wet Market Handbook. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    pages 2-11 (fruit)   pages 23-29 (vegetables)   pages 71-75 (dried foods)

  •  

    Part of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies Series

    Hong Kong, 1918. A tranquil place compared to war-torn Europe. But on the morning of the 22nd January, a running battle through the streets of Wanchai ended in “The Siege of Gresson Street”. Five policemen lay dead, so shocking Hong Kong that over half the population turned out to watch their funeral procession.

    One of the dead, Inspector Mortimor O’Sullivan, came from Newmarket: a small town nestled deep in rural Ireland. He, along with a dozen and more relatives, had sailed out to Hong Kong to join the Police Force.

    Using family records and memories alongside extensive research in Hong Kong, Ireland and London, Patricia O’Sullivan tells the story of these policemen and the criminals they dealt with. This book also gives a rare glimpse into the day-to-day life of working-class Europeans at the time, as it follows the Newmarket men, their wives and families, from their first arrival in 1864 through to 1941 and beyond.

    “This groundbreaking book is a story of life, death, and crime in colonial Hong Kong. It is also an account of an important part of Hong Kong’s population that has eluded most historians: the European working class. With an arsenal of previously untapped materials in Ireland, Britain and Hong Kong, Patricia O’Sullivan tells the remarkable tales of the families who built their own ‘little Ireland’ in Hong Kong.” – John M. Carroll, Dept. of History, University of Hong Kong

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to read pages from Policing Hong Kong – An Irish History. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Introduction

  •  

    New York Times bestselling author Paul French (Midnight in Peking, City of Devils) returns to the Chinese capital to tell 18 true stories of fascinating people who visited the city in the first half of the 20th century.

    From the ultra-wealthy Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton and her husband the Prince Mdivani, to the poor “American girl” Mona Monteith who worked in the city as a prostitute; from socialite Wallis Simpson and novelist JP Marquand, who held court on the rooftop of the Grand Hôtel de Pékin, to Hollywood screenwriter Harry Hervey, who sought inspiration walking atop the Tartar Wall; from Edgar and Helen Foster Snow – Peking's ‘It' couple of 1935 – to Martha Sawyers, who did so much to aid China against Japan in World War II; Destination Peking brings a lost pre-communist era back to life.

    Paul French resurrects a Peking that was filled with glitter as well as evil, but was never known for being dull.” The Economist

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK
    Click the following links to read excerpts from the book.

    Contents & Introduction

    The Rooftop of the Grand Hôtel de Pékin: Wallis Spencer’s Peking World & Those Who Went Up on the Roof (1924)

  • Edited by Jason Y. Ng and Susan Blumberg-Kason

    Published in association with Akashic Books

    Akashic continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each story is set in a distinct neighbourhood or location within the city of the book.

    Hong Kong Noir features brand-new stories by Jason Y. Ng, Xu Xi, Marshall Moore, Brittani Sonnenberg, Tiffany Hawk, James Tam, Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang, Christina Liang, Feng Chi-shun, Charles Philipp Martin, Shannon Young, Shen Jian, Carmen Suen and Ysabelle Cheung.

    What will Hong Kong look like in five years, ten years, or thirty years when the “one country, two systems” promise expires? It’s impossible to foresee. Hong Kong’s future may be beyond our control, but some things aren’t. We can continue to write about our beloved city and work our hardest to preserve it in words.

    When we asked our contributors to write their noir stories, we didn’t give them specific content guidelines other than to make sure their stories end on a dark note. What we received was a brilliant collection of ghost stories, murder mysteries, domestic dramas, cops-and-robbers tales, and historical thrillers that capture Hong Kong in all its dark glory. The result is every bit as eclectic, quirky, and delightful as the city they write about.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following links to read pages from Hong Kong Noir. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Contents and Introduction

  • The stories of expatriates in Hong Kong – the most dynamic, dramatic and diverse city in the Asia-Pacific region – come to life in this book.

    Why did they come? Why do they stay? How did Hong Kong change them and their view of the world? What did they gain and what did they lose?

    Human beings are on the move, driven by economic globalisation, political persecution, love or simple curiosity; and this global flow defines the age in which we live. From these expat stories, larger themes loom: identities transformed; racism, naked and clothed; blended relationships; and the tensions and tolerance engendered through peoples, languages and cultures in contact.

    Look inside this book Click on the following link to read pages from Other Voices, Other Eyes. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt. To begin at the beginning
  •  

    Syd Goldsmith’s first taste of China’s Cultural Revolution is blood on his tongue. It’s 1967. Hong Kong is simmering, plagued by communist-led riots and strikes, crippled transport, punishing water-rationing, takeover threats from Beijing and roadside bombs. And Syd — the only Caucasian Foreign Service Officer at the American Consulate General who speaks Cantonese — is made responsible for reporting and analysis of the Hong Kong government’s ability to survive.

    The CIA station chief and the head of Macau’s gold syndicate play major roles in Syd’s story, along with Newsweeks Sydney Liu and Maynard Parker, and a steady stream of inquiring foreign correspondents and China-watchers. Richard Nixon makes a cameo appearance — to talk football with Syd since the consul general won’t see him — in this riveting memoir of a year when Hong Kong’s “borrowed time” seemed about to expire.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to read pages from Hong Kong on the Brink. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Chapters 1 to 3

  • with illustrations by Lee Po Ng

    Hong Kong is a mixed bag of a city. It is where Mercedes outnumber taxi cabs, partygoers count down to Christmas every December 24, and larger-than-life billboards of fortune tellers and cram school tutors compete with breathtaking skylines.

    HONG KONG State of Mind is a collection of essays by a popular blogger who zeroes in on the city’s idiosyncrasies with deadpan precision. At once an outsider looking in and an insider looking out, Ng has created something for everyone: a travel journal for the passing visitor, a user’s manual for the wide-eyed expat, and an open diary for the native Hong Konger looking for moments of reflection.

    Look inside this book
    Click on this link to view sample pages from HONG KONG State of Mind. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Kowloon Complex

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    18 true stories of those who went...

    For the privileged a cosmopolitan pleasure ground; for the desperate a port of last resort.

    A pot of gold at the end of an Oriental rainbow; a thick slice of hell denounced from the pulpit.

    The start of a journey for many; the end of the road for some.

    A place to find fame, or to seek anonymity; rogues, chancers, showgirls, criminals…

    For so many people from so many lands, there was one phrase that sent a tingle of hope or a shiver of anticipation down every spine:

    “DESTINATION SHANGHAI”

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following links to read pages from Destination Shanghai. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Contents and Introduction 

    Shanghai’s Most Charming Gangster: Elly ‘The Swiss’ Widler (1940)


  • For an arresting mosaic of the great and complex metropolis known as Hong Kong – and an insight into what the people of the city live by and die for – a reader need look no further than the Collected Hong Kong Stories of David T. K. Wong.

    Wong, a native son of this once British Crown Colony and now Special Administrative Region of China, has drawn upon his own experiences as a journalist, educator, government official and businessman to assemble a range of memorable characters for his tales. They range from barmen to labourers, from jockeys to expatriate bureaucrats, from scholars to tycoons, and each is infused with insights into the collective soul of the edgy, anomalous and perplexing place he finds himself.

    These 18 stories are carefully crafted in the grand tradition of O. Henry, Maugham and Saki. Each has been individually published in a magazine or broadcast over radio in Britain, the United States, Hong Kong or elsewhere. They can be dipped into and savoured separately or feasted upon all in one go. Either way, the result can only be satisfying.

    “David T. K. Wong is an exceptionally fluent writer whose compelling stories cover a wide range of themes. His talent sparkles, inveigles and mesmerizes.” – Sylvia Tankel, Editor of Short Stories International

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following links to read pages from Collected Hong Kong Stories. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.  One  Two

  • Out of stock

    with photographs by Michael Perini

    Hong Kong is famous for its bustling streets. In this book we hear from two dozen real people who provide its outdoor colour. We meet a flower seller, a street musician and a tram driver; a bouncer, a shoeshiner and a gas canister delivery man; a site foreman and a lifeguard; one man who climbs bamboo scaffolding for a living, and a woman who ferries visitors around the harbour on a sampan.

    These are the working people who are always seen but rarely heard, and in this book they tell their life stories in their own words. Sharp black-and-white portraits immerse the reader in the dynamic streetscape of Hong Kong.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the links below to read pages from Street Life Hong Kong. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Contents   Tony Tam Kwok-Chiu, Assistant foreman   Chu Yin-Ping, Sampan tour guide

  • with a foreword by Irene Eber

    A compilation of 26 biographical accounts from the entire spectrum of Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jewish society offers fresh insights into a remarkable community that lived through the crossroads of China’s 20th-century history.

    Using previously unseen diaries and archival material, Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews documents the rise and fall of larger-than-life personalities who witnessed the Sino-Japanese War, the Occupation of Shanghai and the Communist Party’s rise to power. Photographs illustrate the life and times of these individuals and the magnificent, cosmopolitan city they called home.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following links to view sample pages from Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Foreword  Sample photo pages

  •  

    On the same day as the assault on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese army attacked the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. Among the colony’s garrison were regiments from Britain, Canada and India as well as men from the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps, better known as ‘The Volunteers’.

    When the battle began on 8 December 1941, the HKVDC deployed a total fighting strength of 1,900 officers and men. These were mustered into seven infantry companies, five artillery batteries and a single armoured car platoon with a full range of support units.

    Over the next 17 days, until the surrender on Christmas Day 1941, the men of ‘The Volunteers’ saw action all over Hong Kong. This is the story of their battle.