Hong Kong Red Cross - History



The Hong Kong Red Cross ("HKRC") was established in 1950 as a branch of the British Red Cross Society. Since 1 July 1997, upon the return of Hong Kong's sovereignty to China, the HKRC has changed its affiliation to become a highly autonomous branch of the Red Cross Society of China.

  • The British Red Cross Society approves the formation of the Hong Kong Branch on 12 July.
  • Formation of the first group of lady volunteers to make surgical dressings for hospitals.
  • Teaching patients in Lai Chi Kok Hospital to make handicrafts, which marked the beginning of the Patient Concern Service.
  • Blood Collection Service established.  First blood collection centre set up in the General Post Office..  Over 400 units of blood were collected in the year.
  • Set up of Disaster Relief Service and a warehouse to store emergency relief items.
  • The first Hospital School set up for sick children in Lai Chi Kok Hospital.
  • The first Junior Red Cross Link set up at St Francis' Canossian School.
  • Inauguration of the Princess Alexandra Red Cross Children's Residential School for physically handicapped children.
  • Inauguration of the Hong Kong Red Cross Headquarters at Harcourt Road, Wan Chai.
  • Inauguration of the second special school, HKRC John F. Kennedy Centre.
  • A hostel set up in Tsz Wan Shan to serve physically disabled youth.
  • The Red Cross Holiday Camp at Shek Pik, Lantau Island, opened.
  • HKRC became a member of the Community Chest of Hong Kong.
  • Mobile Blood Collection coach operation commenced.
  • Inauguration of the third special school, HKRC Margaret Trench School.
  • Medical Equipment Loan Service for adults launched.
  • Expansion of the HKRC refugee service following the arrival of over 3,700 Vietnamese refugees on a Danish freighter.
  • The first aid training course for industrial personnel launched.
  • Tracing service expanded to serve Vietnamese refugees.
  • Taking over management of the North Kai Tak Transit Centre for Vietnamese refugees, and set up a medical centre inside.
  • HKRC President The Hon Sir Run Run Shaw led delegation to pay the first visit to the Red Cross Society of China.
  • Hostel for physically disabled youth in Tsz Wan Shan relocated to Shun Lee Estate, Kwun Tong and renamed as Shun Lee Hostel.
  • Inauguration of the Blood Transfusion Service Bradbury Centre at King's Park Rise.
  • Handover of the management of the North Kai Tak Transit Centre to the Hong Kong Christian Aid to Refugees.
  • Medical Equipment Loan Service expanded to serve children.
  • Inauguration of the Hong Kong Island Divisional Headquarters of the Youth & Welfare Department at Southorn Centre, Wanchai. Opening officiated by Diana, Princess of Wales, former Patron of the British Red Cross Youth.
  • Over HK$144 million raised to support the relief project for flood affected people in eastern provinces of the Mainland China.
  • Blood Transfusion Service integrated with the Hospital Authority following signing of a management agreement between HKRC and Hospital Authority.
  • The first uniformed Elderly Volunteers Detachment set up.
  • Industrial First Aid Training Centre renamed as First Aid Training Centre, subvented by the Department of Health.
  • Launched health care training courses, in support of the Social Welfare Department, for health personnel working in homes for the elderly.
  • Library Service of Hospital renamed as Patient Concern & Library Service, sponsored by the Hospital Authority.
  • Organized the First Asia-Pacific First Aid Competition in Hong Kong.
  • Inauguration of the Red Cross Bradbury Shatin Multi-Service Centre.
  • HKRC changed its affiliation from a branch of the British Red Cross Society to a highly autonomous branch of the Red Cross Society of China.
  • HKRC appointed as the monitoring agent of the Government's Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance.
  • The Hon Sir Run Run Shaw retired from presidency after more than 30 years of dedicated service, and Dr T. C. Cheng also retired as Chairman. Mrs. Betty Tung and the Hon Sir T L Yang were elected to the respective posts.
  • HKRC, together with the Medical Faculty of The University of Hong Kong and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), jointly organized "Health Emergencies in Large Populations" training courses in Hong Kong.
  • Blood Transfusion Service set up Hong Kong's first free public Cord Blood Bank.
  • Patient Caring & Library Service set up Hong Kong's first hospital mini-theatre at Kwai Chung Hospital.
  • Blood Transfusion Service achieved ISO9002 accreditation.
  • Anaesthetist Dr Audrey Chan became the first professional volunteer of the HKRC to participate ICRC's humanitarian work in Kenya, Africa.
  • Commemoration of the HKRC Golden Jubilee. Besides various fund raising and community service campaigns, other highlight activities included:
    • Issue of HKRC Golden Jubilee Commemorative Stamp and Kowloon-Canton Railway Commemorative Ticket.
    • Publication of the HKRC 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book, Light the Darkness - Story of the Hong Kong Red Cross 1950-2000.
    • International seminars organized with the themes on blood transfusion, youth work, special education and promotion of humanity.
  • The former "Youth & Welfare Department" split into the "Youth & Volunteer Department" and the "Health & Care Service Department".
  • The HKRC John F. Kennedy Centre launched Form Sixth class, the first of its kind for special school students.
  • HKRC being presented "Special Contribution Award" by the Red Cross Society of China in recognition of her support to disaster relief and preparedness projects and other development projects in the Mainland over a decade.
  • Blood Transfusion Service introduced Nucleic Acid Test to Hong Kong to shorten the window period for detecting HIV and Hepatitis C virus infection.
  • HIV/AIDS Peer Education Programme launched.
  • HKRC sent the first Hong Kong Chinese medical professional (Dr Au Yiu Kai) on a voluntary medical mission at a war hospital of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kenya, Africa.
  • Blood Transfusion Service won the "Asian Hospital Management Award 2002 (Special Award Category)" in recognition of its commitment to pursuit of service excellence.
  • Holiday Care Service for the Disabled programme launched to provide service in daytime of weekends and public holidays.
  • Prompt response to the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Hong Kong. Actions include distributing 380,000 Heart-to-Heart Cards to the public to promote SARS prevention, sending 100,000 hygiene kits for the elderly and the chronically-ill, providing 150,000 sets of protective suits for hospital supporting staff and carers for the elderly, offering logistic support to isolation camps, etc.
  • Launched the first large-scale district-wide community health education programme "5-Star Health 5-Star Home" in Tai Po district.
  • Organized the first Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot.
  • Set up the Communications & Resource Development Department.
  • Participated in the centenary celebration of the Red Cross Society of China.
  • The HKRC Margaret Trench School relocated from Sandy Bay, Hong Kong Island to Ngau Chi Wan, Kowloon.
  • Blood Transfusion Service implemented ISO9001/14001 Integrated Quality Environmental Management System.
  • Organized "Red Cross Red Crescent Tsunami Response Forum" of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). 40 national societies and related international agencies attended.
  • Ms Sylvia Fung was awarded the Florence Nightingale Award organized by the ICRC. She was the first nomination from Hong Kong.
  • Taking over, from 1 September, the management of the Hong Kong Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
  • South Asia Tsunami emergency relief and rehabilitation works received record-breaking donation of HK$660 million. HKRC set up field offices in Indonesia and Sri Lanka for the first time.
  • Mrs Selina Tsang became HKRC President.
  • Youth & Volunteer Department launched International Service Leadership Programme in universities.
  • Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the HKRC Youth.
  • Total number of HKRC members and volunteers exceeded 20,000.
  • Introducing senior high school curriculum to the Hospital School at Psychiatric Unit of Kwai Chung Hospital.
  • Works for the New Annex of the HKRC John F. Kennedy Centre completed. The annex was built on the former site of the HKRC Margaret Trench School.
  • Ms Bonnie So, Head of the International & Relief Service, was one of the awardees of the "Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) 2006".
  • Health & Care Service Department cooperated with the Beijing branch of the Red Cross Society of China to organize First Aid Instructor Training Course for 51 instructors. Both parties jointly written and published First Aid Training Manual – Beijing 2008 Olympic Games edition to prepare for the Olympics in Beijing.
  • To commemorate the 10th anniversary for admission of the HKRC to the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), a series of activities were held, including: publishing of a commemorative book on the cooperation in the decade, high-level study visits to projects supported by HKRC in Yunnan, HKRC Youth's large scale exchange tour to Beijing.
  • Memorandum of Understanding signed with RCSC for a 3-year co-operation plan (2007-09) in aspects of disaster preparedness, first-aid training and volunteer development.
  • HKRC Council endorsed the new HKRC Mission Statement and the three Core Service Elements – "Protect human life, Care for the health of the vulnerable, Respect human dignity" that guide HKRC's service direction in the future.
  • Blood Transfusion Service implemented Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) technology. With the new blood screening technology, the window period for detecting the presence of AIDS, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C being shortened to 10, 35 and 22 days respectively.
  • Launched the Hong Kong Humanity Award — the first of its kind in Hong Kong to advocate for humanity spirit. The first year honoured 6 awardees.
  • Youth & Volunteer Department launched the "Exploring Humanity and Life — Youth Life Education Project".
  • First charity partnership project launched — with the South China Athletic Association Football Team.
  • Patient Concern Service re-engineered and extended to serve 24 hospitals.
  • About HK$1.5 billion raised — a record amount in one single year in HKRC history — to support disaster relief and rehabilitation work for people affected by the Mainland China snowstorm, Sichuan earthquake and Myanmar cyclone.
  • "Deyang Disabled Person's Federation, HKRC Rehabilitation, Prosthetic and Orthotic Centre" set up to serve people became disabled in the 5.12 Sichuan Earthquake.
  • The 18th Hospital School started operation at Castle Peak Hospital.
  • Volunteer doctors and first aid instructors provided service in service spots during 2008 Beijing Olympics, with performance highly praised.
  • HKRC Director, Lady Wu, awarded the "Director of the Year" by The Hong Kong Institute of Directors.
  • "Our World - At War" photo exhibition held in Hong Kong and Beijing simultaneously to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Solferino that led to the birth of Red Cross Movement.
  • HKRC helped set up the second Rehabilitation Centre in Sichuan, to provide comprehensive rehabilitation service. The Centre in Wenchuan County has two outdoor Rehabilitation Gardens, a new concept in the Mainland.
  • Blood Transfusion Service becomes the first blood centre in the world to adopt a fully integrated Quality-Environmental Management System, incorporating ISO9000, ISO14000, ISO15189 and the cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) standards.  
  • In commemoration of the 60th Anniversary, HKRC organized a series of celebrations and service activities.
  • HKRC volunteers and clinical psychologists provided Psychological Support Hotline Service to help people emotionally troubled by the Manila hostage incident.
  • The 4 special schools under the HKRC (Hospital Schools, John F. Kennedy Centre, Margaret Trench School, Princess Alexandra School) established Incorporated Management Committees to achieve school-based management in accordance with the Education Ordinance.
  • HKRC launched "5-Year Strategic Plan 2011-16" covering the 6 aspects of quality awareness, staff wellness, knowledge management, talent management, service development and service evaluation. A series of capacity-enhancement initiatives would be carried out in phases in the 5 years, aiming to make HKRC a healthier and stronger organization to mobilize humanitarian work.
  • IFRC published the first international first aid guidelines —- International First Aid and Resuscitation Guidelines 2011. HKRC assisted in the Chinese translation edition, incorporating local elements of culture and legal requirements.
  • HKRC New Headquarters Building ground-breaking (27 March).
  • 10th anniversary of The Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot. In commemoration, HKRC  published the Introduction to International Humanitarian Law & IHL Moot in Asia-Pacific Region.
  • Framework Agreement signed with Red Cross Society of China for 3-year cooperation plan (2012-15) in various aspects, including disaster preparedness and reduction, youth service, volunteer service, health care management and training, fundraising, communications, financial management, international participation, etc.
  • Blood Transfusion Service celebrates "60 Years of Voluntary Non-remunerated Blood Donation".
  • The Hon Sir TL Yang, GBM and Mr Vincent Lo, BBS, JP become HKRC President and Chairman.
  • Set up The Audit Committee and Internal Audit Office to carry out agency-wide risk assessment with a view to developing an audit plan.
  • Liaised with the Hongkong Post to publish a set of four commemorative stamps to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
  • Established a Community Care Service Department, the 6th service department of HKRC.
  • For the first time, deployed a local clinical psychologist to Liberia in West Africa for joining the Ebola Virus Disease prevention operation and community education.
  • Launched the first “Chinese Traditional Character” version of the Red Cross First Aid App.
  • Inauguration of the Hong Kong Red Cross Headquarters in West Kowloon with the largest Blood Donor Centre in Hong Kong.
  • Establishment of the Humanitarian Education Centre at the Hong Kong Red Cross Headquarters, which offered a war-themed explorative tour “War Zone 90” – the first of its kind in Asia, to help the public reveal the aftermath of war and the humanitarian value.
  • Initiation of the 5-Year Strategic Plan 2017-2022 to set out development goals for the diversified humanitarian services of the HKRC.
  • Launched Hong Kong's first-ever First Aid Online Learning Platform.
  • Launching of Community Resilience Training.
  • Implementation of Youth Engagement Policy that marked the direction of youth movement in the HKRC.
  • First aid and psychological support services were provided to the people in need in response to social situation.
  • Arranged the "Moving Disaster Preparedness Education Truck" to raise public's awareness of disaster preparedness and resilience.
  • The HKRC celebrated its 70th Anniversary with the theme "Build.Humanity.Together". In addition to express its gratitude to the active participation of supporters in humanitarian work throughout the years, the HKRC also hopes to consolidate the efforts from various sectors to respond to the needs of the changing society, in the view of joining hands to develop our diversified humanitarian services.
  • During the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, the HKRC distributed infection control kits to the vulnerable groups, disseminated personal hygiene knowledge and psychological support messages to the public and provided emergency supplies to people under quarantine, in the view of supporting anti-epidemic work.