The North District has an area of around 14, 000 hectares as well as a population of about 280, 730. 53% of its residents live in public housing estates within the new cities of Sheung Shui and Fanling.
Including 117 villages in Fanling, Sheung Shui, Sha Tau Kok and Ta Kwu Ling, the district is one of the areas where traditional rural characteristics of the New Territories are best preserved.
Previously, Sheung Shui was known as “Sheung Yue City” because the north of the place was the Sheung Yue Ho (River Beas). In the late years of the Yuan Dynasty, the Liu family originated from Fujian to stay at the southern portion of Guangdong. Their descendants after spread to Ling Ha, Wang Mei Shan, Siu Lam, Sheung Yue, Fuk Tin and Sheung Shui
of the New Territories. The chief of the kin believed the clan would prosper when they came to live together, if it came to the seventh generation. Therefore they identified place which had very great “Fung Shui” and excavated a moat and built a “walled hamlet” there. As the village overlooked the Ng Tung Ho (River Indus), it got the title of Sheung Shui Village (village above the water). Steadily the region became known as Sheung Shui.
It was said that in Tai Ling Shan there stood a cliff as white as face powder as well as individuals living nearby called it “Fan Pik Ling” (powder cliff hill). The villages there became known as Fan Pik Ling villages. After a while, the region was named just as “Fanling”.
It was stated that in the Qing Dynasty a high official came to Sha Tau Kok and took a tour to the bay at Tai Pang Wan. The sight of the clear blue sea and also the glistening sand gave him an inspiration and he chanted, “Up rose the sun from the border of the sand. High hung the moon above the water at the far end. ” There after, the villagers called the region Sha(sand) Tau(edge) Kok(far end).
It was an old tale told for generations that connected the name of the region for the fight against attacks from outside. As a way to protect themselves, they made a large drum. When any invaders came in sight, they overcome the drum difficult to alert all villagers to come out as well as fight off the enemies. Therefore “Ta Kwu” (beating the drum) became the name of the place.
The early settlers in the North District were farmers and thus many agricultural lots can be seen now. Now, Fanling and Sheung Shui have recently been developed into modern communities, yet the changes never have removed the villages and traditional agricultural communities.
The three check-points at Lo Wu, Man Kam To and She Tau Kok become important channels for land journey to China, while the North District and Shenzhen are merely divided by the borderline.