In 1868, the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs established a Customs Station on Ma Wan, for the customs inspection of the junk traffic out of Hong Kong, and the collection of the revenues due from it, and Ma Wan Customs Station was used by Kowloon Customs in 1887.
There survive two inscribed stones, each dated 1897, which are preserved near the north-west of Ma Wan Island. The first stone has an inscription on it saying “The Kowloon Customs” (九龍關). The second has an inscription saying “The Kowloon Customs have borrowed seven English feet of Land” (九龍關借地七英尺).
The Kowloon Customs
The Rock Inscription "Mui Wai"
At the Ma Wan anchorage there is a highly enigmatic inscription, consisting of two characters, 梅尉, “Mui Wai”. This is an early form of the place-name Mui Wo (梅窩) on Lantau.
In the two surviving ‘Ming’ lists of villagers on Lantau, “Mui Wai” is given in one and “Mui Woh” on the other as the name of a Lantau village. Lantau was granted as a fief to the high officer Lei Mau-ying (李昴英), for services rendered to the State, in 1256. It is likely that a Lei clan estate-centre was built at “Mui Woh”, and that it was in this estate-centre that the Sung Boy-Emperor stayed in 1277.