Mr Peter Choi 蔡彼得先生


Date 9 July 2016 Interviewed by Chungwen Li
Language Cantonese Audio Edited by Vivien Tang
Venue Hong Kong Ex-Servicemen Association Summary and Translation by Níng Yǐng Hóng/Gregory Choi/Laura Ritchie-Robert

Peter Choi’s original name was Choi Bing-Yui. He was born in 1922 in Hong Kong, and joined the army in 1941. He participated in the Battle of Hong Kong where he was a member of the team which shot down the only Japanese plane during this Battle.

Choi started working at the age of thirteen. He first worked as a pitch boy in a hotel, then as a factory worker. On turning eighteen, Choi joined the army. Having received the training in Lyemun Barracks for two and a half months, Choi was forced to end his training as the Japanese commenced their attack on Hong Kong. Despite not having any prior experience of real battle nor adequate training in manoeuvring firearms, Choi fought as an anti-aircraft gunner in defending Hong Kong, and their team still managed to shoot down the only plane Japan lost during the battle.

Once Hong Kong fell under the Japanese occupation Choi moved underground and served with the British Army Aid Group as an intelligent agent, and his main task was to report to his senior officer in Weizhou on movements and locations of the Japanese forces. It wasn’t until the Japanese captured his senior officer that Choi halted his intelligence work. The threat of being captured loomed as the Japanese might be after him once his name was divulged by his captured senior officer, so he fled northwards to China. However, en route to Waizhou he was intercepted by the Chinese Nationalist Army, which held him as a captive and he was forced to fight as a conscript along with many others with whom he shared a similar fate. After Japan surrendered, Choi went straight back to Hong Kong.

Since leaving the army Choi worked under the Hong Kong colonial government for two years to help rebuilding destroyed houses in the wake of the war. He then worked as a private driver for the CEO of Coca Cola. Before retiring he worked as a minibus driver for thirteen years. Being a photography-lover, Choi even volunteered as a photojournalist once in the Battle of Vietnam.

In 2005, Choi presided over the Hong Kong Ex-Servicemen Association. Since assuming president, Choi, at age 84, has faithfully cherished the cause of the Association. Although the Association went through much difficulties at its preliminary stage, he insists that the Association has to be run at whatever cost since it guarantees ex-servicemen a club that could be used as a resting place for leisure activities. Choi is now retired and he is relieved to hand over the responsibility to his fellow associates who will continue to run the club. Choi lauded his fellow associates as a group of useful and helpful assistants. He knows that he will pass away someday in the future but he is happy that the Association can last forever.

(Profile translated by: Gregory Choi/Alfred Sloley)