Kennedy Town’s ‘Instagram Pier’ now off-limits to the public, government says

The picturesque waterfront spot, popular among photographers, joggers and dog-walkers, was shutted without any prior consultation, district councilors say. Photo: Wikicommons
The picturesque waterfront spot, popular among photographers, joggers and dog-walkers, was shutted without any prior consultation, district councilors say. Photo: Wikicommons

A popular hangout spot in Kennedy Town, known as “Instagram Pier” for its picturesque views of the city’s iconic skyline, is no longer open to the public.

From Monday onwards, only cargo workers will be allowed to enter the area. Gates around the pier are locked and security guards are denying access to anyone without a work pass.

Sam Yip, a district councilor serving Shek Tong Shui, said the decision to shutter the pier was made without any prior consultation.

In a Facebook post Sunday night, Yip said the Marine Department only informed him of the new policy when he reached out to ask upon receiving reports that the pier was closed.

“It is unacceptable for the Marine Department to unilaterally implement a measure that would affect the well-being of residents in the district, without consulting the district council,” Yip wrote.

Read more: Hong Kong’s 13 most Instagram-famous locations that you’ve always wanted to find

In an emailed response to Coconuts, a spokesperson for the Marine Department said: “PCWA (Public Cargo Working Area), where large and heavy goods vehicles and mobile cranes are often used during cargo operations, are not public open spaces. To avoid affecting cargo operations and ensure public safety, people who are not engaged in cargo working activities should not enter PCWA.”

A link to the Tourism Board’s website promoting Instagram Pier now leads to a 404 error page.

Officially called the Western District Public Cargo Working Area, the pier has become a go-to haunt for Hongkongers looking for a place to socialize on weekends, especially since the pandemic began. Many see the waterfront strip as an alternative to indoor spaces like shopping malls and restaurants, where the virus is more likely to spread.

Even on weekdays, the pier is popular among joggers and dog-walkers who live in the neighborhood, as well as those wanting a place to eat their takeaway lunch bought from the myriad of restaurants nearby. It’s even a backdrop of choice for couples taking wedding and graduation photos, thanks to the waterfront’s panoramic views of the city’s skyline.

By law, the active dock has always been off-limits to the public, but authorities have not enforced the regulation nor set up barriers around the spot. Last May, the Marine Department warned that civilians risk a HK$10,000 (US$1,290) fine if they are caught in the area.

Free-to-enter, conveniently located spots like Instagram Pier are few and far between in Hong Kong, where property developers are accused of limiting access to public spaces and driving traffic to malls and places of commercial interest.

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