In the years immediately following Hong Kong’s independence, the corporations that took over the city’s governance lifted the environmental protections on Hong Kong’s many natural parks. In a pattern similar to North America’s Resource Rush, the corps descended on any pristine land that had some resource value. Sai Kung suffered heavily as a result. After the corporations took what they could find, the land was too ravaged for tourism so crime moved in. Sai Kung’s numerous rocky inlets, protected coves, and tiny islands were too perfect for South Asian pirates to ignore, especially so close to valuable Hong Kong shipping lanes. In a way, corporate greed created a monster that the people of Sai Kung are still trying to tackle to this day.
Small villages dot the ragged coast of Sai Kung, but the coastal security forces have had no luck recruiting their aid against the pirate activity. The villagers, mostly cut off from the rest of Hong Kong, have closer contacts with the criminals than with the government. After the pirate crews hit ships traveling to Hong Kong, they often hide the loot in a cove somewhere until the merchandise isn’t as hot. They then trade the loot to the village boat people, who shuffle it down to the Kai Tak market.
Very rarely, t-bird smugglers from the Chinese warlord states cut down over the Canton/Hong Kong border, skip over the sparse land of the Northern Reaches, and try to dart into Sai Kung for a direct entry into the market without paying the middlemen. That path moves over the Tolo Harbor Complex, however, right under the noses of Hong Kong’s security forces, and it’s exceptionally risky.