Podcast with John Saeki, author of “The Last Tigers of Hong Kong: True stories of big cats that stalked Britain’s Chinese colony”

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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.

 

 

The Last Tigers of Hong Kong: True stories of big cats that stalked Britain’s Chinese colony, John Saeki (Blacksmith Books, August 2022)
The Last Tigers of Hong Kong: True stories of big cats that stalked Britain’s Chinese colony, John Saeki (Blacksmith Books, August 2022)

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. 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).


Nicholas Gordon has an MPhil from Oxford in International Relations and a BA from Harvard. He is a writer, editor and occasional radio host based in Hong Kong.