John Saeki

Oct 6, 2022

The Last Tigers of Hong Kong

True Stories of Big Cats That Stalked the Hills Beyond the City

Blacksmith Books 2021

Most Hong Kong residents nowadays only have to worry about a wandering boar or an aggressive monkey in their day-to-day lives. But for much of its history, those living in the British colony were worried about a very different form of wildlife: the South China tiger.

Not that their British overlords always believed them, as John Saeki notes in his book The Last Tigers of Hong Kong: True Stories of Big Cats that Stalked Britain's Chinese Colony (Blacksmith Books: 2022). Police officers, civil servants and journalists often dismissed sightings as a case of mistaken identity by confused locals—until authorities saw tigers with their own eyes, in which case it became a much more serious problem.

In this interview, John and I talk about the tiger, and its many sightings—rumored and confirmed—in the now-lost rural communities of Hong Kong.

John Saeki runs the graphics desk in the Hong Kong office of the international newswire Agence France-Presse. He spends his working days writing, designing and editing maps, charts and information graphics on world news. He is also the author of the novel The Tiger Hunters of Tai O (Blacksmith Books: 2018)

You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of The Last Tigers of Hong Kong. Follow on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.

Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.

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Nicholas Gordon

Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.

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