One of the most important events in the history of Ma Wan is about the “Kowloon Customs” stele. In 1875, Britain and Qing Dynasty signed the unequal “Yantai Treaty”, requiring the Qing court to increase trading ports, establish trade regulations and opium taxation. As a result, in 1886, China and Britain signed the “Regulations for the Administration of Hong Kong Foreign Medicine Matters”, stipulating that the British can set up “Kowloon Customs”, responsible for tax collection, border patrols, and prevention of opium smuggling.
Money collected would be handed over to the Governor of Guangdong and Guangxi. There were several tax collection sites under the jurisdiction of ‘Kowloon
Customs’, which were responsible for collecting taxes in the region. One of them was the “Kap Shui Mun Tax Site.”
The Kap Shui Mun Tax Site was located at today’s Ma Wan Rural Committee building, with the 2 steles nearby. “Kowloon Customs” was carved on one of the stele plus an inscription “Auspicious Day in the 7th month of the 23rd Year of Emperor Kwangshui”, commemorating the completion of the Kap Shui Mun Taxation Site in 1897.
The second stele reads “Seven feet of land on loan to Kowloon Customs.” It is said that during the establishment of the tax site, a small road leading to North Bay
(near Ma Wan Pier) needed to be built to connect to Tsing Yi and Tsing Lung Tau area to facilitate joint anti-smuggling. However, this road required occupation of private land. After mediation, the villagers agreed to have their land on loan for the road, but the road width was limited to 7 feet only. So a stele was erected as a contract.